Is Computer Programming Hard? Not if You Have These 6 Characteristics

illustration of male programmer sitting in front of computer with floating programming icons

In a world that’s blossoming with innovation rooted in technology, nearly every company has implemented computer programs in some form to help streamline their business. And behind every computer application and software program, there is a computer programmer who writes and tests the code to ensure they function properly.

This is an appealing profession for many tech-minded folks, but programming languages can seem pretty intimidating to the uninitiated. But in reality, is computer programming hard?

There’s no reason to assume learning to program will be a cakewalk—it will definitely take a lot of time and effort to get there. That said, a computer programming career does come a bit easier for people with the right traits and characteristics. We connected with programming pros already in the field to identify the top characteristics employers are looking for.

6 characteristics successful computer programmers share

1. A passion for computers

It might go without saying, but computer programmers generally love what they’re working with. If you were the kid who spent hours playing and tinkering with the code of computer games, and helping the adults in your life make their technology function well, a career that focuses on computers will likely be a great fit for you.

It’s certainly a jump from setting up your grandma’s new computer to developing software, but there’s no denying you’ll need to feel comfortable working with technology. Having a grasp on how hardware functions will ultimately guide the software created for it. So having an established comfort level with general computer-related knowledge is a great starting point.

2. Patience

Lines of code, problem solving and customer service all have one thing in common: They require a lot of patience. If you’re someone who gets easily ruffled and annoyed, a job in computer programming may not be ideal for you. Debugging software can take a lot of time and effort, with many dead ends along the way. Patience and a methodical nature are valuable skills for any programmer to possess.

“Programming is not painless,” says Victoria George, General Manager at The Coder School. “Your IDE will tell you if your program works or it doesn’t without sugar coating. You need to learn to be creative, persistent and resilient.”

3. A penchant for problem solving

Writing code and creating software exists in order to make things easier for companies, systems and the general public at large. If you see the world as a puzzle to be solved, you’ll like the mysteries and complexities found in the realm of computer programming.

If you’re inspired by riddles and like the challenge of fixing what doesn’t work, you’ll enjoy programming. Think of programming as digital tinkering—sometimes you’ll have to dig into the “guts” of a computer program and try to work backwards to figure out how to solve an issue.

4. A desire to put things in order

“Paying close attention to detail is a must with computer programming because one tiny mistake can cause a domino effect,” says Jonathan Razza, Senior Director of emerging technologies at Liaison Technologies.

If you have an affinity for ordering things so that they’re “just so,” you might find a lot of satisfaction in writing code and creating software. Computer programs require a logical series of inputs and actions to create a desired outcome, so having a perfectionist’s eye for detail and organizational ability will serve you well.

5. A love of learning

The world of technology is ever shifting, and new trends and information are being produced on the tech front every day. Not only are computer programmers continually learning how things work and how to properly put the pieces together, but programming language and code, as well as technologies and tools, are constantly evolving.

“A lot of jobs might also expect you to learn a technology they use that is slightly different from what you are used to,” says Ben Fremer, web developer and founder of Best SEO Tools. “The underlying concepts are generally the same, so it’s more like learning new ways to apply to your skills” He goes on to explain that as one technology declines in popularity and another surges, the best programmers are able to adjust their skills accordingly to stay marketable.

While a degree in the field will certainly prepare you for your career, the learning doesn’t stop once you have your diploma in hand. It’s important that programmers stay curious and continue taking the initiative to keep learning throughout their career.

6. A desire for efficiency

Does a poorly-loaded dishwasher or backtracking on a road trip get under your skin? You might have the perfect mindset for programming. It may seem silly, but programmers spend a lot of their time eliminating redundant work or finding ways to automate tedious processes. Brian Geisel, CEO of Geisel Software, sees this desire for efficiency as a sort of productive laziness.

“If you’re lazy enough, you’ll work hard to make sure you never have to do anything twice on a computer,” Geisel says.

Much of a programming career is seeking out the best possible way to solve a problem or do a task, so if you are wired for efficiency and get a kick out of maximizing time, you’ll find quite a bit of satisfaction in programming work.

Are you programmed to become a programmer?

Do the above characteristics sound like you? If so, you may have found your perfect career match! While others may find computer programming is hard, your inherent abilities and interests might make you a natural fit.

But what kinds of careers could this skillset lead to? Learn more in our article, “9 Programming Careers for Coding Connoisseurs.”

This article was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017. Insight from Brian Geisel remains from the original article.

About the author

Lauren Elrick

Lauren is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She enjoys helping current and potential students choose the path that helps them achieve their educational goals

female blog writer

Related Content

Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen University 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. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star