It’s your career. What will you do with it?

Welcome to the world of professional programming. We get paid to write code, after all, which makes us professional. We're not superstars, at least not compared to professional athletes. But there may be times when it seems like we have superpowers compared to those who aren't programmers themselves. Programming isn't one of those careers that just falls into your lap. Every programmer you will meet in your career became a programmer because they enjoy programming. Because they made a conscious decision to pursue the craft of instructing computers to perform specific steps in a certain order. It's undoubtedly addicting. Even after decades of programming, it's still exciting to hit enter and see your program come to life. It's a microdose of dopamine. A unique rush that's hard to grasp if you've never written a program yourself. There's a certain satisfaction in knowing that you took an idea in your head and brought it to life as the pixels dance across the screen in front of you.

It's this excitement that drew us into becoming programmers in the first place. We're natural builders. We like to tinker with things and try out new tools and concepts. We like to dig deep down to understand why something works, or perhaps why it doesn't. There's a certain curiosity you need to succeed as a programmer. We're not satisfied just because something works. We need to understand the how and the why behind it because that allows us to identify possible failure points. When we understand how a program can fail, we can prepare for those scenarios. We can add logic to handle or prevent certain error states and give useful feedback to the user.

The first few years of your career will be an exciting and challenging time. One of the best pieces of advice to pick up at the early stages of your career is that you are in charge of your own destiny. The field of programming is so broad, it will feel overwhelming. Take a look at the amount of effort it takes to learn a single programming language. It's one big choose-your-own-adventure story, and you're the main character. There are hundreds of programming languages, frameworks, databases, and programming paradigms available. So how do you know which direction to go?

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