Unmotivated programmer

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I am currently working on a Bachelors in Computer Science, and so far I have A's in most courses I've taken (which is everything from basic programming through objects to data structures and a bit of operating systems programming). And I'm being hit with the realization that I really don't enjoy programming all that much. I'm pretty good at it, and I do occasionally enjoy projects when they are interesting and I get started, but the idea of programming never sounds motivating to me.

Over summers I spend little to no time learning new programming things or working on my own projects, part of it is because I have spent so much time working on console applications that are about payroll and things like that, when I think I'm more interested in making games and whatnot (and I haven't taken any classes in that).

Is this a common problem for programmers? I'm really not in a position to switch majors so I'm not looking for that kind of advice (nor would I want to, even though I don't enjoy it too much, I can't think of a major that sounds any funner...), I guess I'm just looking for programmers to tell me it gets funner if you just stick with it if that is the case. Any advice?
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
if your just working on basic stuff like that, then it could get boring, but there are definitly fun things out there. you just have to find your niche. i discovered that i like encryption, compiler design, and os stuff. you might like designing games, or doing av work. computer science is a broad field with many areas
Go ahead. Work on GUI apps. Don't worry how ahead you are, just keep going until you hit a stump. Once you hit one, put lots of time into removing it. Repeat.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
well that might not be the best thing in getting motivated for a project lumpkin. if you have to spend a huge chunk of your time debugging instead of writing code, wheres the fun in that? which reminds me... hows your game coming?
The times are so close its like you guys are texting each other.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
im continously refreshing my topics page because im not in the right mental state yet to dive in my purple dragon book. i need coffee first.
When you have free time why not try to make a GUI application using c++ or perhaps also a graphical game? But other than that I'd suggest that you think keep with your CS major. Perfecting console programming is EXTREMELY important and will help you out a ton whilst programming games.
Thanks for all the comments!
I haven't done anything with graphics yet, but I have worked on a tic-tac-toe console game, and a bit on a text-based RPG I was working on, and those were much funner and more motivating than other things I worked on (but still not what I'd call FUN, ha).

What is a good place to start when getting into graphics with C++? I was considering SDL?
Yea, it's really good.

@DTS It's good, but I'm redoing collision again.

I haven't worked on it in like 2 weeks though, messing around with 3D stuff.
Well, I read that the number of CS graduates that get programming jobs is shrinking, and will probably be about 20% when I graduate. It's apparently common for CS graduates to become UNIX systems administrators; technical support is also common.

Not having the drive to learn programming on your own will probably disclude you from being able to be a professional programmer as it's basically a major requirement of the job.

If you want to be a programmer, you should pick a specialty that you find interesting and that you know has a promising future for you.

I don't want to program boring business software either. I'm choosing my focus, and working extra hard so that I'll hopefully have the qualifications by the time I graduate to work on the types of projects I do find interesting.

My focus of self study is going to be concurrency, high performance systems, distributed computing, databases, and networks. I figure this is stuff that is relatively easy to learn on your own, with the help of online resources. For my upper division electives, I'm going to choose courses that are more difficult to learn on your own, like scientific computing, mathematical modeling, and bioinformatics. I will probably narrow my focus a little as I learn more.

Make a plan. Consider that working for a game company may not mean that you'll be making games. Figure out where you want to work; look at job openings, find out what skills they are looking for, what programming languages they are using, what kind of experience they expect. Reach out to professionals who are in the field, doing what you want to do, and ask them how they got there; what's it like; where is it going?

Whatever you do, I think it's imperative in this field to work hard, especially on your own (outside of school requirements), in order to build the qualifications your employers will be looking for. If you don't, you could end up in a low end job where you are paid less, treated worse, do boring work, and don't have much of an opportunity to move up. At that point, your work could consume your time, and passion for programming. You might go home after long days at work, and not want to study or program. It may be difficult, at that point, to bridge the gap between where you are, and where you want to be.

I've thought about this myself a thousand times. I think you have to prepare well now while your responsibility is to learn, and always be thinking about the future and trying to adapt so that you're fit to build the future you would like for yourself. You've got to have a strategy.
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htirwin wrote:
Well, I read that the number of CS graduates that get programming jobs is shrinking, and will probably be about 20% when I graduate.
What about game programmers? Should they just go indie?
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Lumpkin wrote:
Should they just go indie?

That has been a yes for a few years now. Trying to get into a company is hard, and chances of making your own game considerably slim. Better to do indie as you have full control over your game, but will be required to motivate yourself the whole time.
Is financial programming a problem? Like programming things for banks?
Is financial programming a problem? Like programming things for banks?

That's where all the money is it seems
Ha, was the pun intended?
Sort of :) But for real. Programmers in the finance industry seem to get paid an ass load of money.
Is it hard? Finding interest rates and working with doubles isn't very hard. Adding the GUI seems like the hardest part.
I couldn't tell you. I would hope it's challenging. I've looked up average salaries for it in various areas. It's not surprising to see averages around 100k.
I would hope it isn't challenging :P

I'm going to do a little research on it.

First link I clicked on showed an extremely simple problem considered "hard".

And a few other links told me that you really only need to know mean, median, and mode, plus addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Wow, they got it easy.
If it isn't challenging then they are pathetic programmers. Good programmers want challenges to make them constantly think and rethink their code and try new things. Finance programmers, if they aren't challenged, are just the equivalent of over educated, overpaid number crunchers.
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