Is Computer Programming Hard? Not if You Have These 7 Characteristics!

Is computer programming hard

Nearly every aspect of our lives these days revolves around a computer in one way or another. Your ancestors would never believe you if you told them that one day we would have the ability to have a face-to-face conversation with someone thousands of miles away or have a computer in our glasses

It’s no secret that these machines can do amazing things, but there’s still a human behind the scenes directing them. Computer programmers are the masterminds who write, modify and test the code that ensures applications run smoothly. None of our cutting-edge technology would function properly without lines upon lines of complicated algorithms in the form of programming languages.

With all of this talk about coding, algorithms and programming languages, you’re probably thinking, “Is computer programming hard?”  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t quite black and white. The truth is that not everyone can hack it as a computer programmer. It takes a unique set of characteristics to succeed in this field.

But if you do have what it takes to excel in this profession our experts are confident that you’ll never be short on work! The U.S. Department of Labor agrees there is a bright outlook for computer programmers as well as exciting earning potential, with the average salary listed as more than $76,000 per year.*

Do you have what it takes to be a computer programming pro?

We asked our panel of pros to describe some of the natural characteristics many successful programmers share. This insider info will help you determine if your brain is programmed to be a computer programmer.

Take a look at the seven quirky qualities they shared with us:

1. They love solving puzzles

Those hundreds of Sudokus and word-finds you’ve completed throughout the years may finally pay off! Computer programmers tend to view their work as a giant puzzle, according to Pete Shearer, enterprise architect at Emblem Seven.

“[Programmers] see things around them as a series of puzzles that must be solved,” Shearer says. He explains that this attitude often drives the best programmers to work strange hours because the inspiration of the puzzle’s solution may strike them at any time and they aren’t satisfied until they’ve cracked the code.

2. They’re patient … like REALLY patient

If you’re a person who is easily-agitated, computer programming is probably not your dream job. Patience is crucial because programmers often deal with individuals who have little knowledge of the field, says Zach Pickell, computer programmer at

To be a great programmer you must be able to keep your composure when translating your technical knowledge into layman’s terms. Patience also pays off when you’re daily duties consist of writing lines upon lines of code and other mundane tasks.

3. They over-analyze EVERYTHING

"If you were a kid who loved to build, tinker or take things apart, you’re wired for being a programmer”

You’ve been accused of this time and time again by your significant other—now you can finally use your powers for good! Computer programmers tend to break everything down into small steps.

“You can’t accomplish anything as a programmer if you can’t see how every problem is reducible into its component parts,” says Hayley Brooks, head of product development at Learn2Earn.

4. They’re intellectually curious

“If you were a kid who loved to build, tinker or take things apart, you’re wired for being a programmer,” says Yarin Kessler, founder of PDF Buddy.

Kessler says this is because these individuals generally have an innate interest in how things work. Great programmers enjoy pulling things apart and putting them back together better than they were before.

5. They’re lazy … but in a good way

We’re not talking about lying in bed all day in front of the television. But there is a certain degree of laziness involved in being a good computer programmer, according to Brian Geisel, CEO of Geisel Software.

“If you’re lazy enough, you’ll work hard to make sure you never have to do anything twice on a computer,” Geisel says. This is because programmers hate to do things manually that can be automated.

6. They’re somewhat pessimistic

It’s not always bad to be a “glass is half empty” kind of person. When it comes to computer programming, it actually helps to be constantly focusing on the negative, according to Steve Silberberg, software contractor turned adventure junkie.

Silberberg explains that programmers are responsible for anticipating every possible contingency in order to avoid glitches. “A good programmer analytically looks at every possible thing that could go wrong, which comes off as less than optimistic,” he says.

7. They’re ALWAYS learning new things

Our experts all agreed that a thirst for knowledge is essential for success in this career. If you think you’ll be done learning once you’ve earned your programming degree, think again! Formal education will help you build the foundation on which your career will grow, but if you don’t take it upon yourself to continue evolving, you’ll get passed up in a hurry!

“Hardware and software are always changing, so you have to thrive on the thrill of learning new things,” Geisel says.  The best programmers take it upon themselves to become well-versed in a variety of programming languages, while also adapting to technologies, tools and best practices that are constantly in flux.

So ... are you wired to be a programmer?

So is computer programming hard? For the average person, the answer is probably yes. But if you can identify with a handful of the qualities our experts described above, chances are good that you’ll be able to handle it (and even enjoy it!)

Remember that not everyone has what it takes to make it, so taking advantage of your quirky qualities can really pay off!

Learn how an associate degree in web programming can complement the natural characteristics you already have.



*Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary. 

External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Callie is the Associate Content Marketing Manager at Collegis Education. She oversees all blog content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about providing quality content to empower others to improve their lives.

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