I’ve been interested in computer programming from a very young age. It started with my Sinclair Spectrum 128k +A. I played the games for a while, but for me, it wasn’t playing the games that was fun — it was the programming of them.
I used to love it when a new Sinclair magazine would come with a fold-out poster covered in code. It was magical. All I had to do was type in these seemingly nonsensical words and symbols, and suddenly a database application would appear on the screen.
What an 8-year-old child needed with a database application, I have no idea. But it filled me with excitement. I had created something out of nothing.
At primary school, we had an old BBC computer and something called a “turtle.” It was a little robotic device that would drive around in whatever direction you told it to when you programmed something into it. If you typed it, it would do it. I excelled at this, and I spent my lunch breaks playing with it, while all the other kids were outside playing tag. Truth be told, I was never really good at playing with others, so this was a welcome inner world I could explore.
I didn’t know it then, but these interactions with computers would become a lifelong obsession — and ultimately turn into a career.
It wasn’t until university that this became clear. Until that point, it had all just been “mucking about on the computer.” I went on to study multimedia design. We got to learn the basics of coding, and at the same time, we got to play with something new called “the internet.” Well, I was hooked.
From that moment on, I spent hours and hours learning to code — inside university and out. I’d found a whole new world in which I could lose myself, and I loved it.
Today, I run my own web development business, Outfield Digital, with my wife, Lucy. And, as you might guess, I spend my free time playing with computers (Raspberry Pi’s, to be specific).
Reading about my life, you may have noticed all the signs that I am an introvert. But the reality is I didn’t discover my introversion until pretty recently. Looking back, however, I can see why I loved coding so much — because it fit so perfectly with the introverted me.
Why Computer Programming Is a Good Fit for Introverts
- You can learn from home, and at your own pace. There are tons of online resources available today, including Treehouse, Codecademy, and Pluralsight, to name just a few. All of them have hours of content about many different programming languages, from web development to app development.
- Although you might have to end up working on a team, for the most part, you work on large chunks of projects independently, so you’ll have extended periods of time where it’s all just down to you.
- You can code from pretty much anywhere with a computer and an internet connection. If busy offices are too much for you, then maybe working from home or at the library will give you that much needed quiet in order to focus. Many employers like you to work from the office, but negotiating even a day working from home can help keep energy levels stable.
- You may think that computer programming is all about typing, but the truth is, 90 percent of it is in your head, doing problem solving and creative thinking. There is nothing more satisfying than being given a problem to solve and being left in your own head to think it through and find a solution. And, as introverts, we are particularly good at thinking through all the different eventualities.
If you’re thinking about starting a career in programming, be sure to check out the online learning resources mentioned above. You don’t need a degree to get started — a good head for basic math will be more than enough. Beyond that, I’d suggest researching which area of programming looks mosting interesting to you, be it software, web, or mobile apps. Then head over to meetup.com and look for a local community group to attend; you’ll likely find others on a similar journey. Maybe you’ll even find a mentor to help you along.
If you are already on the journey to becoming a developer, be sure to check out my website, The Introverted Developer, for more programmer introvert stories and tips.
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