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HELP! I found out I hate programming!

  1. Mar 28, 2007 #1
    I came here for an astronomy question, but I saw this forum so I decided to ask a question.

    For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to make video games when I grew up. I'm at community college now, and I have taken alot of general ed classes along with programming classes. HMTL/Java was ok, but not what I want to do with my life. VB was rough to get through, definitly not for me. And now I just got done with c++ which I absolutely hate hate hate more then anything else in this world. I cannot see myself doing any kind of codeing for a job, and I never want to take another programming class again.

    It seems my dreams of having a job where I can make video games is not going to happen.

    All I have heard is to find a job that you love, and never work another day in your life. While here at community college, I have found out I am good at math, it just seems easy for me, and I am interested in physics and astronomy.

    My question is, is there really any good jobs that are fun and pay well in these 3 fields? Also, should I give up my dream of making video games for one of these other fields that just may be a quick fling and not a real passion?
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007
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  3. Mar 29, 2007 #2


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    Hey, I know what you mean. I also hated programming when I was an undergraduate student. Between 4 years ago and now, I wrote a few BASIC programs to assist with analytical and adjustment decisions for physical materials; but as an undergraduate science student, I did not study any more programming than was necessary for the requirements of my degree.
  4. Mar 29, 2007 #3

    I had the same dream as you also as a child that is what got me into programming, about at the age of 14. But after programming for awhile I found I would hate to be a game programmer.

    Long hours, very slim job security and you have to be the best of the best if you want to make a living out of it.

    I still love to problem solve and program though just not in the game industry.

    I see your at a community college, it can make math/physics seem easy before you switch majors, you might want to see what its like in a uni, for me it was a huge difference. Community college was easier than highschool imo.

    When I first started programming I had change of heart so many times, I thought to myself, i'm not smart enough to be a programmer, i'm not good at math, i'm not a good problem solver, etc

    But now i'm top of my class in my programming courses/math and have been offered several TA positions. If you have a dream pursue it.

    Over the summer, study your a** off, grab a book, re-learn the stuff you didn't understand during your programming course. If you let yourself slip, it will come back and hurt you.

    BTW, what turned you off in programming? Was it a certain subject or debugging problem?
  5. Mar 29, 2007 #4


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    Have you had a chance to learn about image processing in any of your classes so far? That's a very practical field that requires a lot of math, some physics and some programming knowledge. It's related to your video game interests, and there are lots of interesting and challenging real-world applications of image processing. If there are no explicit classes available at your school that cover image processing, maybe read about it some on the web, and pick up a book or two to study on your own.

    A very good friend of mine has been at HP Labs for a long time now, managing the Image Processing group. Check out some of the projects he's worked on:

  6. Mar 29, 2007 #5
    Thanks looks intense berkeman,

    Must be good with linear algebra!
  7. Mar 30, 2007 #6
    Thanks for the advice berkeman, I'll spend some more time looking into image processing.

    As for what turned me off to programming, it was a few things.

    1) Learning that most programmers use at least 5 programming launguages in their job everyday.
    2) Finding out I forgot most of my HMTL/JAVA and VB after being halfway thru C++.
    3) Learning that you must continue to learn a new launguage every few years for the rest of your life in order to stay competitive.
    4) Doing maintenence on someone elses code who wasn't taught c++ properly, and just has it jerry-rigged to hell with gotos and no structure gives me a head ache from hell.
    5) Building, compiling, rebuilding, compiling, taking 4 hours for a simple 100 lines of code, then imagining having to debug a program with 500,000 lines of code.
    6) And lastly, even though its not about money (which I promise you, wasn't the case for me wanting to do this job)....Knowing you probably will never get a pay raise, because young kids comming out of school will take your job for less money, or your job can be out-sourced to india or china for cheaper.

    There are more reasons, but I think you get the point.
    Bottom line is, my memory isn't good enough to remember 6 launguages : (, and I dont want to keep learning new ones. I also did not find writing code fun, and that was the whole reason why I wanted this career. Making video games is just nothing like I thought it would be as a kid.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2007
  8. Mar 30, 2007 #7

    It is true you must be a life time learner if your a comp sci, but that should actually excite you rather than turn you off.

    When I get a new book or have a course that is goign to teach me a new programmming language I get excited over this. When IBM told me they were going to send me to a 1 Week crash course in Java I was like YAY.

    So maybe programming isn't for you like you said.

    Outsourcing also scared me but then I realized either go to a big company that doesn't like to outsource or go to a smaller company who doesn't have the infrastructure to outsource or the resources to take risks like that.

    There are tons of horror stories from outsourcing companies in India/china/Russia and alot of the software that comes out of those companies are crap. If you are a good programmer your skills will be very valuable to the company.

    Also note, HTML isn't a programming language, its a markup language.

    Another nice thing is the more experience you get as a Software Engineer, you don't want to stay in that position, if you do, it will be hard to advance in the $. But even at the software engineering position he was making 80-100k a year which is fine with me!

    My uncle is a Software Engineer and after a bout 10 years of programming experience they put him up in the Project Management Position and is making an insane amount of money.

    He doesn't like it very much though he prefers to be a code monkey but there are room for advancements as a Software Engineer.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2007
  9. Jan 8, 2009 #8
    I can't Really say "Same here!" because i'm still in middle school and in 8th grade. I found that I HATED my TI-83+ with a burning passion when i got it in 6th grade. Couldn't understand anything about it. Then my friend showed me this snake game on his TI-83 Silver, and boy-oh-boy in my school thats is really great, boring teachers teching boring things and you can just sit there and play a game. I looked online and actualy really got into programming my TI-83+ about mid to late 7th grade. And I've made my own game, very simple but addicting. So i'm kind of the opposite, but hey... its only a calculator.
    P.S. If you want to see some of my VERY simple games and formula helper-outers then look me up, some are really helpful.
  10. Jan 8, 2009 #9
    programming is not computer science, learning programming is like learning to operate a machine. For me, programming gets old really fast but computer science is so broad theres lots of things that catch my interest.
  11. Jan 9, 2009 #10
    I'm a system developer, and have been for 12 years now. I thought I would comment on some of your points here.

    5 Is probably overstating it, but yes, languages vary. But a language is just a tool to get the job done. You will like some more than others, but you pick the one that gets the job done. Sometimes you might have to use a specific language due to project restraints, but more often than not you have freedom to choose.

    This is normal. I consider myself fluent in c/c++/c#/x86 assembler/Java/Ecmascript and I have used a handful more. Yet, I don't remember the specific syntax for things in all of these. You look that up when you need it (and Intellisense is your friend). As you learn different languages you realize that the specific implementations of things might vary, but the ideas stay the same.

    Now you are learning c++ and the ideas behind object oriented programming. In the future you might be doing a project in c# and find yourself asking "hmm, I wonder how I do virtual methods in this language" or "Can I do operator overloading in c#" or "Can I nest constructors somehow" and so on. You don't need to remember the syntax for any of these things in any language, you look that up if you need it. The ideas are the important part.

    HTML, by the way, is a markup language not a programming language. It does not perform, it describes data. And over my lifetime I have probably written a DVD worth of HTML, yet I still have to look up CSS information every single day.

    This is an overstatement. New languages pop up quite often, but not all fields use all these different languages. The languages prominent in scientific research are not the same as those used by web developers, which are not the same as those used in game developement and so on and so forth. So when a new language appears you only need to concern yourself with that if it is in your field, and then again, it is only a different syntax once you have the main ideas down.

    Major revolutions come around rarely. Object oriented programming was one, and a few years from now we will probably see an influx in the ideas and methods surrounding functional programming, since multiple cores/processors are dominant and we need code that can take advantage of this.

    No argument there, maintaining other people's code is a PITA. The same with debugging code you wrote yourself a time back to locate some obscure bug. I don't like it either.

    It doesn't really work like that. Big projects are split into layers to keep them manageable. You might have a project for data interaction, another for the API and a third for the UI, to give an example. The first two might be separated into DLLs and built as independent projects.

    I don't know why you think you will never get a pay raise, that is just .. random. However I can assure you that no "young kid coming out of school" can just sit down and replace me. Do you think that someone who has been doing math for 10 years can be replaced by a random newly graduated student? If not, why should programming be any different?
    Outsourcing happens, but mainly in companies that do not really do system development. Cap Gemini might outsource if they need an application built, but that is because they are not a software developer. Microsoft or Blizzard on the other hand does not outsource, because making software is what they do.

    Now this IS a problem. If you do not enjoy sitting down and solving some problem on a computer, or seeing how much performance you can squeeze out of so-and-so many resources, then programming might very well not be for you. I find it a little odd that you enjoy math though, because it is very analogous work. Specifically game programming, as you have mentioned, is very math-intensive. AI and Graphics programming is applied mathematics.

    If you enjoy the problem-solving part and are just fretting about the idea of all these languages and syntaxes, then I suggest you do not give up quite yet. The languages fade to the background after a while.

  12. Jan 9, 2009 #11
    Maybe you just need a break. I don't know much about programming but in physics, whenever a semester is ending, I get really tired of thinking about physics for like a week or so. Then I just do nothing for days and slowly, I begin to think about what I've learnt over the semester and my physics interests come back. Usually, at the beginning of next semester, I become charged up again and ready to roll.
  13. Jan 9, 2009 #12
    I'm a graduate student in high energy astrophysics, and most of what I do is programming, with a little bit of electronics now and then. If you want to get a BS in physics and then continue on to graduate school, you should know that most fields of physics and astronomy research involve a lot of programming. A lot of research groups, including mine, use C++. So if you hate programming, you might want to stay away from this. It's worth noting, however, that you could go into condensed matter physics. If you work on the experimental side of things, you could get away with not doing very much coding at all.

    I'm not trying to discourage you from physics, but be careful about majoring in physics (i.e. make sure you've got a career plan before you start the major). With only a BS in physics, it's very hard to get physics-related jobs. But when supplemented with a few engineering and computer science classes, a physics degree is still very employable. However, most of the jobs you'll be eligible to apply for will be in engineering or computer programming, which appears to not really be your thing. If you plan to get your PhD and go into one of the physics fields that don't involve much programming, then majoring in physics would be a great idea. But if you're looking to quit with the BS degree and get a job, it may be hard to find a job that doesn't involve programming.

    Incidentally, I'm not the biggest fan of programming either. :smile:
  14. Jan 9, 2009 #13


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    Most programmers who know what they are doing hate C++ too.

    If you are good at math I would highly recommend trying a programming language like Standard ML, OCaml or Haskell. It might change your perspective on programming.

    To give you a perspective on how hard game development is:
    John Carmack the creator of Quake says that building a lunar lander and winning the X-Prize was less difficult than the problems he encounters at his game development job.
  15. Jan 9, 2009 #14
    It sounds like your taking technician style courses. A actual Computer Science curriculum would be much different and perhaps more to your liking? I personally decided to leave CS for physics and astronomy, however the CS courses can be very fun. You may simply be too intelligent and analytical to get much value from a technician level Community College programming course, I had a few of those, and they were like you describe. Try out some real CS before you discount it I think you'd find it more rewarding.
  16. Jan 9, 2009 #15
    To give you a perspective on how hard game development is:
    John Carmack the creator of Quake says that building a lunar lander and winning the X-Prize was less difficult than the problems he encounters at his game development job.[/QUOTE]

    Wow! I somehow find that hard to believe but I still believe you. You would think making a Huge technical and future-of-earth machine would be harder than making a video game. But hey... thats just me
  17. Jan 10, 2009 #16
    Where did you learn that? Most jobs I had I used one language, on occasion two.

    That comes with the job, I forget things just using one language! That's what indexes in books and Google are for...

    Not unless you want to. I could have continued finding Fortran jobs forever, fortunately I had other chances!

    That's a pain. I had that experince. I found another job coding from scratch.

    That's why I program in Smalltalk.

    Nah. Experience counts.

    Why didn't you find writing code fun? Was it because it seemed a lot of effort to do the simplest things? That comes with the game. Realise that and it can become fun again. If you want to get back into programming on your own time, I suggest trying Smalltalk:

    Squeak: Learn Programming with Robots by St├ęphane Ducasse


    That might putthe fun back into your programming. Though if you go pro you might have to dust off C++...
  18. Oct 21, 2009 #17
    Even after 10 months, I felt the urge to post a reply here when I bumped into the topic...

    What about dumping programming and go to another school that focuses on game design? You still have to learn a few programming stuff but they're very little, related to the amount of programming you get to do now. You focus more on the creative portion of the game and less on the technical. Look into it. A friend of mine studies Game Design in Wolverhampton University in England and she's very happy about it. And, apparently, Wolverhampton is not the only place to follow game design courses ;P
  19. Mar 22, 2010 #18
    I'm also not a big fan of programming, I understand it's importance but I would never want to be a programmer. So, condensed matter physics doesn't use much programming? Does experimental physics use less programming than theoretical physics? Thanks.
  20. Mar 22, 2010 #19
    Rutherford's experimental physics didn't use any programming, and neither did Einstein's theoretical physics. Look carefully at job descriptions and avoid those that demand programming experience. I quite liked programming but didn't like soldering irons. There was always someone else prepared to do the soldering -- that could be you!
  21. Apr 1, 2010 #20
    heya. great inspiration for me. im new into this programming thing i too really wanted to make videos games n all but the very first subject of "intro to comp sciences" has made me realise i should really forget about the whole thing. i find it really tough to understand n write a solution for the given problem. but i have to do it anyway cuz my dad wants me to be a great programmer n expects me too. could u assure me somehow that if i practise enough i could get through it nicely? i keep getting depressed whenever i fail to write a code for a problem. can you advise any specifis daily routine i could follow for programing practice? like how many hours a day or something? i'll appreciate that. thanx
  22. Apr 1, 2010 #21
    I think project euler is right up your alley. The problems start off relatively simple and get progressively harder and end up including all sorts of coding concepts. Practice will definitely help you, as will asking people (or your dad) to explain theories when you get stuck.
  23. Apr 1, 2010 #22
    Have you considered going into art? Most of the artwork in video games isn't done by programmers. For that matter, what about sales and marketing?

    Yes, but people have weird definitions of "fun".
  24. Apr 1, 2010 #23
    I think it's accurate. One issue with video game design is that your deadlines are pretty inflexible. If you are working to get the X-prize and you find that you need an extra month (or even an extra year) to get everything to work, no problem. If you ship a video game a month late, you are toast.

    Video games have totally awful reputations among programmers.
  25. Apr 2, 2010 #24
    thanx a bunch! i expect to have good advice from u in the future. do pray i get somewhere in this field n make my dad proud of me. :)
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  26. Apr 2, 2010 #25
    Sure, but I do hope you actually like this field 'cause otherwise it's kind of a waste of your time to be doing it. Don't pick a major for your parents, even if you have to spend the next X years arguing with 'em about it. (I speak from experience here, my family wanted a doctor.)
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