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Is computer engineering as hard as they say it is ?

I am thinking about pursuing a career in coding , but I’ve only got bad feedback from people saying it is going to be hard and not even worth it. Is it that hard ? And is the job comfortable or very exhausting? #career #career-choice #jobs #career-counseling #career-choice

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Muhammad’s Answer

Just to preface, I am a mechanical engineer but I have a few friends who pursued computer science & software engineering. I also had to do a lot of coding as part of my course work (back-end).....mostly MatLab & C++. I also have a few family members who work in app/web development.

To begin with, I would ask the following:
- Do I want to have a career purely in coding?
- Do I want to learn the ins and outs of software/hardware? How the code interacts with the physical machinery/hardware?
- Do I want to learn how languages are development, how operating systems are created?
- Do I care about all the science behind the code?

The reason I would ask the above questions is to differentiate between pursuing an engineering degree vs. doing a certification program and working as a developer (coder) directly.

Engineers focus a lot more on "how things work" and look into the background/science of how coding interacts with software or how to develop new languages. This can be perceived as "more difficult" depending on your aptitude for science/engineering.

On the other hand coding itself is just like learning a new language. Also, just like language, coding has a lot of carry over between other languages (logic). Mainly what differentiates the language is the specific commands and grammar. So overall coding itself just takes repetition and practice to learn (again just like language). Overall this maybe perceived as "easier" depending on your aptitude. Also, a career in coding can be pursued by attending various coding boot camps/certifications (engineering degree not required).

Hope this helps!

Thank you a lot for your feedback Youssra K.

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Leo’s Answer

The short answer is: "Yes, it's kind of hard; but it's totally worth it".

A lot of people don't like Math. I would say that if you find Math, or Formal Reasoning hard, then you'll find Computer Engineering hard as well. However, what is hard for some people may not be so hard for others and, regardless, if you put the effort, you'll eventually master all the skills needed for Math/Engineering.

I'm a Computer Engineer and I've had both exhausting and comfortable jobs; and then there are some jobs that are comfortable most of the time, but there are periods of time where there are peaks and they became exhausting. It also depends on what you mean by "comfortable", of course, but the point is that as a Computer/Software Engineer, you'll usually have a few choices. When looking for a job, make sure you ask about Life/Work Balance, and if you'll be expected to work overtime (and how frequently) when making a decision.

Now, the good thing is: before you make a decision, you can try for yourself to see if you'll like this field. Go ahead and start learning any programming language. Really, just find some tutorials and start coding away. This will also help you understand how things work, so that you won't find College/University classes that hard later on. The more you practice, the easier things will become. And then again, on the other hand, if you realize you don't like coding at all, well at least you'll know.

Also, I think it's totally worth it -- precisely because it's kind of hard. The pay tends to be OK; you can work from home (so your chances of keeping your job during a major pandemic are much better); you usually can negotiate your Life/Work balance and work hours; and there's usually a few employment options (depending on where you live). But yeah, it is kind of hard and you'll have to do A Lot of Thinkation all the time.

Leo recommends the following next steps:

Learn a programming language to see if you'll like this area

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Mickael’s Answer

Is it that hard ?
Like other said, the job can be hard for some, it can be great for others. Hard/easy are quite relative to how your mind thinks. You need a sense of detail, you need a sense of simplification because if you are taking all details into account, it might be overwhelming. We use Mathematics, or at least the logical approach of Mathematics. Some programming career requests deeper Mathematics but that is usually based on the program you are developing than programming in general.
And if you really want to be a good programmer, you need to understand the hardware. Some people only attended software courses so being taught hardware and how software interact with hardware could be confusing. If you did attend hardware class then you know.
Then what could be hard is what you are programming. But that area is not different from any job I've heard about.

And is the job comfortable or very exhausting?
Again, depend on how you are. You spend quite some time thinking about your problem, then more time trying to find solution. Usually that means to confront your ideas with other persons (which can be challenging).
You also sit or stand a lot in from of your screen so if you are someone that loves to move, it can be tough on you. It can also takes you 24/7 so you want to make sure you impose limits on yourself to ensure you have proper personal/work balance.

For me it is totally worth it. And the area is full of opportunities

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Phil’s Answer

Software engineer here. I think it's totally worth it - full stop.

You're developing a skillset that can only benefit you well into the future. Technology isn't going anywhere and is only getting more advanced. I was in college 10 years ago and some of the stuff I learned then doesn't really apply to what I do now but the fundamentals are still there and I still get to enjoy the fruits of my experience and degree.

I would say that it's less important about what computer science/engineering courses you take and more important that you have the desire to do it which it seems like you do.

Develop the skillset, you are the future of technology.
Leaving your mark on the world requires doing something hard (typically).

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Stephen’s Answer

Hi Youssra,

I'd ask yourself is this something you are passionate about and enjoy doing? There are so many coding jobs, in many different fields that offers many opportunities to individuals with coding skills. A career in coding can be very rewarding and it can be challenging, but so can other jobs. I would not shy away from a career based on how hard it will be. If you are passionate about it and like to learn you will do great!

Best of luck!

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Haripriya’s Answer

Electrical engineer turned software engineer here, and looking back definitely feel it's worth the effort. It is a bit of hardwork but if you are going to be passionate about it then just go ahead with your choice of coding. For me it was a steep learning curve since I moved into software engineering as a career from another profession., but there has been no regrets. The beauty of the field is that it's has multiple dimensions like data engineering, data science, backend engineering, so even within software engineering you have plenty of options to choose from, one which actually keeps you motivated. The job itself is a mix of comfortable and exhausting but at the end of the day you would feel good building something and continuously learning on it too.

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GAURAV’s Answer

I don't think it is any harder than learning anything new (like playing an instrument etc.). Once you put your mind to it, and take baby steps, it is not hard. There are tons of resources online, but the key is discipline to practice everyday.