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I am student of 3rd year software engineering, and I find myself nowhere in field of programming.

I know basics of programming languages like C, C++, Java, Visual Basic, HTML, JAVAScript, CSS and PHP. But every time I sit in front of my computer and start coding in any of the languages, I feel frustrated and distracted and I just shut it down.

I have lost interest in everything and I am worried about my future. I am worst at creating logics.

So can anyone help me or guide me to make me create my interest in programming?

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You can't force interest, it's not unthinkable that programming just isn't your thing. –  Yannis Rizos Aug 11 '12 at 11:34
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If you've lost interest in everything and you feel really stressed, the problem isn't programming. Maybe talk to someone in the university counseling center about stress management? Or take some classes outside your field this semester, stuff you wouldn't normally take. –  philosodad Aug 11 '12 at 15:13
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closed as not constructive by Doc Brown, gnat, Walter, Yusubov, Thomas Owens Aug 12 '12 at 13:33

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3 Answers

Having reached 3rd year and having learned all these technologies show that you probably have the right IQ skills (this is a crude judgement), so making this assumption, part of your problem may be either:

  1. Physical/psychological issue, this can be determined by tests at the doctor's office. The unbalance of some hormones can exhibit such symptoms.

  2. The bad choice of the problem to solve. Don't sit in front of the computer and start doing whatever. Instead, pick simple tasks that can get you results. Have a goal you can fulfill.

  3. Work with others on a simple project. This may motivate you if you are a social type of person.

  4. If you feel challenged by complex sort logic or the likes, relax, most business applications don't require such level of complexity.

  5. Find a mentor to help you when you are stuck.

If none of the above works, it is not too late to investigate other careers you may want to do. 99%+ on this planet don't code and some have Rolls Royces :). In fact, most of the rich people never coded a single line and will never do that.

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I had the same problem few years ago. I knew Java, C++, HTML, CSS, Visual Basic, C# and Flash (circa 2005). I was also in the third year of college. I also had some family problems (father in hospital for six months), and on top of that I had to start working (no money for anything, the costs for health were sky high in my country). I faced multiple issues:

  • I was not able to sit in front of the computer too much!

  • I found no joy in programming.

  • I was not able to focus.

  • I was not able to finish any middle sized programming project (say anything more than few thousand lines).

  • I had no working knowledge of the market.

  • I had no clear idea on what to do with my life (as a programmer or otherwise).

In the end, my boss noticed these problems. He was not a bright programmer or anything, just a great human being, and he advised me to first think about what to do with my life, and then try to focus and solve the other problems. I listened to his advice, and then I attacked each problem.

All I knew back then is that I was a good writer, and I was lucky enough to read 2-3 good programming books (one of them being Bruce Eckel's Programming in Java) and I decided that programming is not such a bad job for a writer. Then I started to work on the next problems:

  • Time in front of the computer: try to find the best interval that works for you (30 minutes, 1 hr, 2 hrs).

  • To regain interest in programming, try to solve some small problems that might excite you (it can be something as simple as a different version of Tetrix, or a new website). Learning new frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Grails, Python + Django, also works.

  • To regain the ability to focus: Again, same advice like earlier - try to find an algorithm to split your working time into small pieces, easy to digest pieces. For example, I discovered that in my case, I would be able to focus in the next situations: either split everything into small tasks (20 to 45 minutes), and take short breaks between them (5 to 15 minutes) or larger blocks for 4 to 8 hours (half a day or one day). If breaks are taken in such a way as to help you regain focus and also celebrate the fact that you finished your task, it is likely that you will be more productive in time. Each celebration break also comes with some great ideas about improving your program!

  • To finish bigger projects: try to apply the knowledge you were exposed during the learning new frameworks phase to your diploma or master projects. For example try something 3 or 4 times bigger than your usual semester project.

  • Knowledge of the market: you will get it in time by working at different companies, reading the Internet, meeting new people, going to workshops, conferences, etc.

As I said, first step should be to decide if this is really what you want to do, and then to try to solve each of the smaller problems one by one. This strategy helped me a lot, and I thankful to my former boss even to this day (I am now living in another country and doing research, and meeting lots of elite programmers from all the big cities in Europe). I knew I took the right decision few years ago, when in the 37 signals book (the book by the creators of Ruby), one of the advices was Always hire the better writer! Just google this phrase and read that small book :). It might help you get through this difficult phase. It also addresses all the issues I detailed in this short post, and many others.

Another advice would be to try to understand which part of software engineering you like: programming, project management, documentation, testing, etc? Try to understand what makes you happy when working at a programming project of any kind.

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First, you seems smarter than the most, given you know how to use so many languages technologies. If you're worried that you're not smart enough, I disagree.

I had the same issue a while back, and everything seemed too complicated and stressful. I suggest, you start building something interesting, something you're motivated to do. Since you know all these technologies, try building something with them. If you get stuck when trying to use a technology, just google it, ask it on Stackoverflow or your fellow friends. If you feel stressed, just stop what you're doing, and take a walk. You can't work when you're stressed. Then come back and take a fresh look at the problem. I've worked in projects where I'm getting a NullPointerException and trying to solve it for days, and one day I realize I didn't set a variable.

Reality is, when writing software, you will get stuck, you will get frustrated, you will find road blocks. But when you overcome those and your code finally works the way you want, it is worth the trouble. I personally write code, just for that feeling. If I don't get these problems when I write code, it's feels easy at first, but feels boring quickly. When they say software developer's life is never boring, this is what they mean. You are expected to come up with logic, and solve problems. Yes, it's painful sometimes, but it doesn't have to be. When you feel stressed, take a break, listen to music, log in to Facebook, what ever you like.

But then again, it's one of the many ways to make money at some point. It's not the only way. If you don't feel like you're not up for it, you can go find something that you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, just find your passion. As Steve Jobs said “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.” If writing software doesn't worth it, find something else that you'll enjoy, otherwise you'll suffer for you life.

Also, keep in mind that you spent the last 3 years learning all that. There must've beed a motivation for you to start learning this. Is that motivation still there ? What has changed ? If you go do something else, it will make the last 3 years of your life a waste.

If you think software is too complicated, keep in mind that, best things in the world, are not complicated. Including iPhone, Facebook, Spotify and more, are not complicated. May be you're looking at it differently.

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