Yi Xiang

A Young Writer in Search of His Voice

Why You Should Learn Programming as a Backup Plan

You can learn programming even if you’re 14 years old.

Now of course you don’t believe me. How is that even possible? It’s fucking programming! It’s very hard! It gives me headache every time I try to learn it! How can a 14-years-old learn it? Unless he is a genius!

Well, I did learn programming when I was 14 but I was no genius, I spent 4 years trying to program but cannot produce a single line of workable code. It was not until I went into university that I have finally managed to code something usable.

When I quitted university after 4 years, I got a job as a lead programmer. Here is a catch, in that job, I was coding in a programming language I have never used before.

Programming Javascript

My point is not to show you how brilliant I am, my point is that since I suck at programming for 4 years. I must be very dumb at learning it. If even I can do it, it must be an easy thing that you can probably learn to do too.

Ok, I’ll be honest, actually you may not be able to learn programming, I have even read a study said there are people who just can’t get it no matter how hard they try. But why do I have to say these things as if I am Tim Ferris and programming is the next thing that will lead to your ultimate freedom with a lifelong vacation around the world?

Because if you are like most people, you have a self-limiting belief that you cannot program, and that you cannot make big money, can’t start your own business, and can’t do other bunch of stuffs that you desperately want to do.

Many self-help books and blogs will tell you how easy it is to do these things so that you can drop these beliefs and actually start doing things you want to do, instead of holding yourself back. That’s also the whole point of Think And Grow Rich.

Now back to programming. It’s a little bit hard, but not very much so. If you can go through the pain of learning it, you will not need to worry about having a high-paying jobs. Or you can freelance if you want to.

Sure everything changes but technology is powered by programs, and programs are written by humans. As long as there are electronic devices, programmers will be in demand. Given that the whole world is dreaming a future with robots, auto-pilot cars and flying suits, I wouldn’t say we will need less programmers.

Robot is Money

This is money, my friend

But you surely aren’t impressed by that. Yeah, why sell your time when you can write a few eBooks and be rich the rest of your life? Or start a blog and selling ads? Or building all kinds of passive incomes?

Because they may not work. They say it’s easy so they can sell you stuffs, but if you really read about the success stories, you will find a pattern: they all spent a considerable time making very few money. Maybe half a year, maybe one year, maybe even more.

And, don’t forget for everyone that succeeds, there are many more out there who don’t make it. I’ll be honest, you may not succeed either. But you also may.

My point is not that you should give up your dream of traveling around the world while making money blogging.

My point is why not have a backup plan?

I have been experimenting with all kinds of making money online plans for some time. While I make very few money, I don’t really worry about my money problem. Because I can always find a programming job. If I want more freedom and dollar, I could even freelance for US companies, and laughing at my every friend with my income. How so? US dollar is much more valuable in China. If I make $2000 a month I would be making more money than all my friends right now and maybe earning two times more than many of them.

You surely should take risks and try to make big money or build passive income or find the passion of your life if you want, especially when you’re young, but you can’t be young forever, and success can’t be guaranteed.

There may be a point in your life that you found you have failed all along, made no money on the way and you want no more adventures, just wish to have a family and a  regular job and watch your kids grow. Better to have a plan to make good money reliably by that time.

You may be very eager to claim this is not you and you will make it big, you will make big money. But such claim can only be supported by the money you already made. If you are struggling, you may struggle tomorrow. Failure is completely normal and instead of ignoring it, it is better to prepare for it.

Sorry to say that and sorry if it disappoints you, but better to learn the truth now than after 6 years of miserable blogging failure because, chances are, unlike me, you won’t be 23 years old after 6 years of blogging failure.