How can I handle the fact that all I can seem to think about is if my skills will get me hired? I'm only 15, I know I have at least 2 years before I realistically need to start worrying about being hireable, but a small part of me just won't let me learn useless just-for-fun stuff since it's so ingrained in my head that I have to be prepared for working life.. It makes it hard to learn things when all I'm thinking about is how language X will probably have more job opportunities or how people who work on Y types of software are more likely to get accepted into big tech companies.. It sucks but all my school cares about is getting me hired and I can't ignore it. The worst part is, I don't want to sound too bitchy, but realistically, I know I have enough skills to get a decent programming job as I am. Perhaps nothing extreme like top jobs at Google, but my Computer Science teachers have told me I'm performing at a professional level already and that's all I have, man.. It's all I can do and yet I don't let myself have fun with it.. I suppose it's because I don't want to let myself become average.. It sounds so fucking bad when I say it but its true.. I've become so used to people telling me "Wow, you're pretty good at this! Where'd you learn to program this stuff?" since I waste such an abnormal amount of time on it that I'm afraid of becoming normal.. I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me, I know there's absolutely nothing wrong with being average but still all I can think about is how I need to keep working to be better and better and it's like I've already sunken into the stress of work despite not even having done my end of school exams.. Sorry, this was kinda just me speaking my thoughts in real-time I guess haha.. Does anyone know how I can just let myself be more careless? It's probably a bad thing but I'd rather be happy than hireable, even if it means losing the only decent skill I have, I just can't make myself believe it.

Sorry again for the wall of text.

  • 7
    Let me throw some perspective on your problem.

    I currently work for a company that is about 90+% c# / .net development in some way, shape or form.
    I'm a php dev.

    Don't let the market drive what you want to do or learn, you just become another cv in a pile that looks exactly the same, the skill set you choose will be needed by some one, use that to you're advantage and stick out from the crowd.

    Oh and you're 15, quit stressing, that feeling of "I don't know enough" will never go away if you want to excel in this field, this isn't a learn once and stand still field, it's more of a wooden log in water, you can stand on it and not go anywhere, or you can run on it and impress anyone watching.
  • 8
    A big mistake a lot of people make, regardless of age, is to think that a gig at one of the big valley tech companies is all there is.

    Hey, if that's specifically what you're after then good luck and there's no reason to read further.

    But, if that's not specifically your goal, there are TONS of jobs out there in many fields and the dirty little secret is that many of the people who work there or will work there are, to put it bluntly, shit. Not like "eh, he's okay, but he doesn't know everything" bad, but like "wow, I'm not sure this person can write 'Hello, World' without a pile of bugs in crappy code' bad.

    If you just want a nice career that pays well and overall isn't bad then I doubt you'll have much trouble. If you want Google or Amazon or Facebook then yeah, the bar is higher and you might not measure up, not without a lot of effort. But that life isn't for everyone, so you have to figure that out about yourself first before you worry about anything else.
  • 7
    You're supposed to learn *how* to think, not *what* to think.
    Trying weird and random stuff is the best thing you can do to sharpen your mind and your skills, especially now that you're 15 and still have plenty of free time ahead of you. 2-3 years are plenty of time, if you put them to good use.

    But most importantly, learning about the more obscure tools and languages is exactly the kind of thing that will set you apart from all the other cookie-cutter programmers who only ever learned the one mainstream thing at the time.

    Skills and intelligence are not measured by the amount of notions you have memorised; they are measured by your ability to make connections and to see things from a different perspective.

    So go ahead, experiment, try weird stuff - one day, that might just bring you the solution you were looking for.
  • 6
    Relax. Take a deep breath. It will be okay!

    You're 15. Sorry about who to Kiss, what to do on the weekend, enjoy growing up. Do dumb stuff, have fun. For the rest there's more than enough time!

    Correct me if I'm wrong but you're probably starting soon either an apprenticeship (not sure how the UK education system works) or are heading to university in a few years. Either way you're fine.
    If you do an apprenticeship, they'll Tracht you the exact skills needed, a.k.a. practical knowledge.
    If you attend university, they'll teach you theory.
    Either way you'll be able to make a decent living.

    If you want to be one of the "best" and not just average, probably the route through university is the right one for you, as you'll get the mathematical background/foundation. You'd probably also want to learn more low level stuff (Like C/C++/Rust), instead of "just" web dev. However being a webdev is perfectly fine! Nothing wrong with that, so no preasure!

    If you want to already be a "professional" dev, found a business. Talk to your parents, so they can help you get set up, legal wise. Then start building websites for money or come up with an own idea, program it and let people pay for it. If money doesn't interest you that much, contact local charities/NGOs/small businesses/boy Scouts/etc. and offer them to build their website for free (in case you want to do web dev Stuff).

    Otherwise how about geting involved in an open source project. Look for one you like, take a look at feature requests and try to implement one. Probably the maintainers won't accept your first submission and criticise it a lot. Don't let that discurage you, but learn from it, improve it, until it passes the checks!

    But most important. Relax. Live your life. Be young, be stupid. Have fun!
  • 1
    The skills from doing life stuff will be more important than technical skills. Technical skills are just a way of expressing useful work in another abstract area. I am passionate about applied art and communication design. That is what sets me apart from other devs in my job. They are so wrapped up in tech skills that they forget that a user that has an IQ of 80 should be able to use a system and they have no idea why something is important.

    Experimenting with other things is something you can do now easier than any other time in your life and help you know your own passions.
  • 4
    You really should have started when you was about 3.

    Even if you are top of the class, you can still end up unemployed for decades.

    I hear success is all about who you know, rather than what you know.

    So, network with people !!!
  • 2
    Your life will change a lot nevertheless if you plan a lot or not, so don't stress to much.

    Life is whats happening when you're making plans.. i think thats from John Lennon, but I'm not 100% sure

    15 year-old me would never predict the person I'm now

    Maybe you will become something very different. I started uni in engineering because wanted to make money. I was good at it and was making money, but I hated. Ended up quitting and doing other things

  • 1
    i'm sorry, i only read the first few sentences (but am going to reply to those anyway, because internet). next time, try at leas breaking the wall up into paragraphs, that works pretty well for making people have no issue with reading long texts.

    so: usually, it's EXPERIENCE that gets you hired, more than skills. so when you're gonna go for your first job, even if you were like "oh yeah, i have 3 years experience with this tech that's not really used anymore but eas at the time, 2 years experience with this other one which is kinda relevant in principle to what you're doing here, 4 years of experience with this tech which got superseeded by what you're using here, and i started learning what you're using here three months ago", you'll have higher chance of getting hired than a person that's "i've got 6 years experience with the single tech you use here, and... nothing else".

    at least that's my... experience =D
  • 0
    point is, having lots of experience with lots of tech of various kind, even if all that tech is irrelevant for the position, shows you're intelligent and have no problem picking up new tech, as a programmer should, similar to a carpenter should be able to pick up any carpenting tools and figure them out. because at the end of the day, your job is not "programming in X", but "creating software in/with whichever tool is most suitable in that case".

    so languages, environments, etc, they're not your work, they're just tools you use to do your work. makes sense?
  • 3
    If your 15 and can do that, just goto uni to get a degree (though a lot of companies are dropping that requirement) so just network and try to meet the right people. Goto hackathons, tech events.

    You're sort of like me though. I never cared much about languages when I grew up. I just built stuff and learned whatever language and tools I needed to build it, none made any money though...

    I skipped C++ un/fortunately and started with VB and then C#

    I went to business school because my parents said you already know how to program, don't need CS. That was probably not good advice for getting into Google but big tech wasnt hot yet...

    Then couldn't get a finance job unlike promised (this was around the crash) so went with Plan B in the end...

    Got invited to a tech interview at a bank. Met with a bunch of teams... basically just had chats talking about the things I've build.

    Easily overqualified and thats how it's been even now... so the key is just getting your foot into the (right) door
  • 1
    The thing though is it you want to remain a superstar, you got to go into CS and aim for the cutting edge tech companies or find an IT team that's close by (maybe fintech)

    That's the only thing I felt with my job over the years and basically stopped caring eventually...

    I knew I was losing my experience advantage every year... And now I'm sort of like I hope I don't get fired... because not sure if I can find any better due to other not tech reasons...

    Though I maybe be able to last 10 years without working with the assets I already have and moving back in with my parents...

    Tech salaries to begin with are about 2x more than average... I think avg was like 50k, first year I got 80.
  • 2
    Story of my life. It's super stressful trying to stay ahead of everyone else.

    My two cents. Depending on where you live you should be able to find a professional part time software development job. If you can get experience outside of school that will give you a huge advantage coming out of school.
  • 1
    Also please add /n next time @_@
  • 1

    > moving back in with my parents...

    I ended up doing that 3 times now !

    In the end, I spent twice in renting a place than it would have cost me to build two houses !


    Stay at home kids !


    Build house..

    Build second house, rent out the first, become a landlord !

  • 0
    @Nanos hmmm can't imagine rent being more than the cost of building a house....

    Otherwise there would be no rental market? Why would anyone rent when they can buy for less?
  • 0
    Oh one other thing assuming the big tech companies keep testing it like the Bible (and therefore most other companies now test for it too)

    Learn algorithms and data structures

    CLRS, Cracking the coding interview, hackerrank

    That's the biggest thing that keeps me from jumping... I think most of this stuff is junk and you'll rarely me it on the job... But that's what they ask in interviews these days...
  • 0

    Because it is so hard to get a mortgage, the amount you need to earn is huge, way beyond minimum wage levels.
  • 1
    @Nanos ah you mean like the minimum needed so you have to rent until you save enough.

    Hmm yes that's true. I just lived with my parents till I saved enough though.
  • 1

    Everyone should live with their parents until they have enough and avoid renting. :-)

    I'd also advice against mortgages too..

    Too easy to spend a decade of your life paying for it, and then if you lose your job and can't pay, losing the home and ending up if you are lucky, with nothing to show for it. (And worse, negative equity and still owing money for all your years of hard work..)

    I've seen friends go that route and regret it later on when things went bad.

    Some are lucky of course !

    Not sure I'd want to chance 25 years of my life to 'luck' !

    Rather save up and self build for cash, more reliable route of success.

    Sucks if you don't have parents though !

    As such, when we get older, we should adopt parent-less younger folk who need a hand in life.
  • 1
    @Nanos I thought land was bulk of the cost? I can't build anything other than Legos though and biggest criteria was near where I work/can find a job so basically metro area
  • 1

    Last costs are the biggest thing the nearest to cities you get, far away, land costs can be very low.

    For example, where I am, you can buy a whole house already built for $13,000 USD !
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