Seeking solace as a self-taught developer

Hey guys, I’ve had people not understand it if they see me with a computer all the time, especially my parents. They often see that as a sign of laziness or irresponsibility instead of getting a part-time job (as I’m still a student in college) or something that has a physical value in the immediate sense.

Sometimes, I feel down and wanna do stuffs that please them but I still eventually end up with me back to my screen. I’ve been living with this for a while now and with no sense of a physical community to seek support, I seek solace in my computer. I guess this comes with being a self-taught programmer. I’ve dabbled in Python aiming for some Robotics, AI and Information Security dream for three years before coming to realise I needed something else to support my ambitions.

Just started on the fcc forum tho but I wanna make the best use of the opportunity of this platform with support and learn which is hard to do if people in real life don’t get what you do and you paddle in a lonely canoe with little to no motivation. :face_holding_back_tears:

So, I wanna hear stories from the online community on how people took to you literally living your life on a computer and what you did about it.


I wonder if getting a job doing the development work you know how to do would be a simple (if not quick) solution? Maybe you can try?

I am not a fan of the carpal tunnel syndrome or the myopia or the bent neck I’ve developed over the years of sitting hunched at a computer terminal though.

Some people have standing desks to help avoid that. Perhaps seeing you standing at a computer desk will look better to your family (not to mention prevent some of the issues i mentioned).


I’ve been around technology and computers since I was small, as there was always a computer in the house. I’d play some kid games, and old-school flight simulators as a kid as I enjoyed the challenging aspect.

Later once I hit middle school I took some basic computer classes and realized “computers are the future” and determined that I’d probably focus on them as my career when I get older. Around this time I also tried to learn some basic programming fundamentals, but it was tough focusing and really getting anywhere with what I wanted to learn. I wasn’t able to find any friends or network of “other programmers”, so it was tough going.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I actually took learning to program seriously. At which point I finally had some access to peers and networking opportunities, which I tried to leverage as much as possible before I graduated.

At the same time as getting serious in college, I realized something else. To be the best software engineer means working with others, and learning other soft skills.

I ended up working night shifts at a fast food joint to not only get paid, but to just learn how to work. There I learned how a bunch of soft skills, like dealing with people, working with money, and working on a team. I found all of these soft skills to be helpful later.

I eventually took a job on campus, as it would work with my schedule and allow me to focus more on my studies while still getting paid, so I ended up working in basic IT where I’d interface with professors across the campus directly.

I consider those two jobs to be a key part of my later success, and even though they weren’t directly applicable, all their indirect experiences helped me dramatically when it came to the social aspects of work.

Ultimately being able to work and interact with others at work is a skill that can be just as important as your hard-skills.

I’d think about getting a part-time job, not necessarily for the pay if you don’t need it, but primarily for the “people exposure”. This sort of experience provides value in a physical sense (you get paid!) but also a non-physical sense, as you get the experience of just working. Computers are great and all, but they are ultimately just complex machines. It’s fellow humans and people who you’ll end up interacting with for whatever job you want in the future.

Sure it’s fine to go back to working on your computer in your free time, as people can be exhausting! But being able to work with others is part of every job at some level.


Yeah, I guess that would be something I would take up once I gain confidence in my skills.

Standing while coding? Okay. Session-long? I haven’t heard of that before for real.

But thanks for the suggestion anyway.

No worries. People who are concerned with their health tend to get the adjustable desk (it can go to standing height and shrink down as well). I have even seen someone configure their space with two desks. One low, one high so they can alternate.
Example of people discussing this online

I definitely need to improve my soft skills. I’m not good with face-to-face interaction with people I don’t know before or haven’t bonded over something. Although , I’m not rude and all. But learning to interact with others seems like a good idea.

Getting a part-time job is kinda like a vibe killer in my opinion. 'Cause I wouldn’t be able to put more time for my side projects or they might take longer to accomplish.
But like some things in life, I guess one has to give up a little to accomplish another.

And I guess I would need to be able to balance my time.

Prolly gon’ make a TODO list :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for your time.

Okay. Thanks. Gon’ check it out.

@gr1ntch , thanks for posting this. tbh, i think it’s brave that you put this out there.

fwiw, i’m learning to code now, at the same time as I have a wife and a one-year old at home. i have similar concerns every time i sit down at the computer. thankfully my wife understands that i am learning this in part for us, and also that it’s important to me and she supports it. still, it’s something i need to balance all the time. i would definitely learn more programming if i didn’t have other responsibilities, but these these other responsibilities are my life, and if that means learning to program more slowly, so be it. that’s my story.

also, fwiw, i use an adjustable-height desk and i love it. i also have spent a lot of time doing this thing called the Feldenkrais Method. it’s kind of like learning to program, in this case re-programming how we use our bodies to do so more effectively. i know this wasn’t something you spoke about directly in your original post, but since it got brought up, i figured i would tell you my experience.


Lucky you, it’s a good thing your wife is understanding and you are able to get a moral support when you need it.

Another one of my concerns is getting a wife (in the future) that will understand that you need to code to live. I guess understanding is one of the most important things in a relationship.

I will also check that method you talked about.

Thanks for sharing.

Oh man, I can relate to this stuff:

I was working remotely since like 2014(not constantly but most part of the time).

I had bunch of ridiculous dialogues like this:

- hey man, what's your job now
- stock trading
- and where are you working
- the company main office in M. but I am working from home actually
- from home... did you try to find normal job

It’s not like exact copy of real conversation, but it is very close to real ones I had, you can defintely get the vibe.
Some people are kinda old school, they don’t get it, the remote work possibilties, and had opinions about ‘normal job’.
When pandemic appeared, such conversations became more rare, but they are still a thing.

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or they say: “aren’t you lucky!”

There are cases like that, yeah.
But I think remote work definitely has negative sides also.

Sometimes it is easier to organize yourself and turn on ‘working mode’ when you are in office with bunch of colleagues, for example.

And there is this nice feeling when you are coming home from office/factory or whatnot, I like that.

When you are working from home you are not coming home from work obviously :upside_down_face:

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i can relate, decided to focus fully of software development all was going well and was meant to go abroad to further it all, but then… covid hit .
i just know someday it’s going to pay off. keep your head up :+1:t6:

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haha. seems like you got a lot on your plate right now. all in good time, my friend. best of luck!

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:slightly_smiling_face Thanks man.

That sucks man. But it’s gon’ turn out well.

Will keep that in mind when I get a job. :slightly_smiling_face:

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