In this article, I’m going to outlay why you should code and more importantly convince you, you already have the skills necessary to achieve it.
Code is everywhere, a person born in the 2000s is inherently digitally native and known nothing else!
Behind all technology, you’ll have already encountered already are two things, software and hardware. Whilst there are physical limitations to the hardware, the software that has been written and will be written is infinite. Let me say that again, the possibilities within the software are infinite.
If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, take any problem you face at work or in your problem that involves some form of technology and I guarantee you if you can think of a solution this can be communicated into a programming language that can actualise that very idea.
It’s very easy to be frustrated with the world, but channelling this into something productive is how we counteract the perpetual motion machine of frustration.
This is what we at CodeMD want to empower you with, the ability to go from idea to creation.
We have another article that goes specifically about Python and why it’s a good suit for learning to code and why you may want to choose it as a language to learn, please see the article here.
Now understanding the benefits you can achieve with adding coding to your repertoire of skills, it’s important to dive into the types of skills needed to get along with the coding.
You’ll be surprised by the overlap between medicine and software development when it comes to the types of skills and personalities that enter the profession. Understanding this will help you understand whether coding is a good outlet for your creativity.
Addressing the Difficulty of Coding
To those who are interesting in taking on this journey, I want to convince you that you already have the mindset needed to achieve your own goals.
The words that pop up in people’s minds about coding is that it’s heavily mathematical and you need that to get started. Whilst there are areas of programming that does require an understanding of mathematics, there are many areas that do not and only the very basics you already understand allow you to get very far.
Let me not beat around the bush, coding is a difficult skill. You are in part trying to problem solve whilst still learning a vocabulary that doesn’t quite feel natural. Like any language, it takes a certain set of skills in order to achieve what you want out of it.
In fact, if I were to say what coding reminds me most of is that of learning medicine. Remember when you were first learning the vocabulary of describing various parts of the body for clinical examinations? Being able to use a certain vocabulary to describe situations takes time.
You will all remember the time that you started to use words among nonmedical friends and they do not understand a word you’re talking about. On top of that, you’re trying to learn how to diagnosis, how to manage patients. This is the same cognitive dissonance that has to be unravelled in coding. But what you have going for you is simple, you have already done this, you can do this again.
The reasons why you went into medicine probably revolves around the idea of wanting to enact change, to do a job that’s worthwhile and gives back to society. You knew that this would be a tough journey, from this journey you acquire skills not easily quantified. It is those skills that are exactly the skills needed to take coding from idea to solution.
Below we describe some skills you already have and why this makes the skills you already have a perfect match for learning a new type of vocabulary, a new type of effecting change in medicine.
Skills You Already Have
Curiosity is what brings medical students and Doctors to healthcare. Going through a medical school degree is tough and requires many challenges along the way. This is no different to what coding will challenge you with. Having the tenacity and curiosity instilled in medicine makes you perfectly suited to seeking out answers and ways to solve problems one step at a time in coding.
If there is one skill that has commonality in both fields is problem-solving. One of the key skills in training medical students and Doctors is the ability to go from problem to solution, to consider alternatives and to weight up sometimes difficult to resolve situations and make a decision. In order to get from idea to creation requires the ability to solve problems. Having picked up these skills in your medical degree and possibly as a physician. You have acquired for a long period of time the general skill that can be applied beyond the healthcare setting.
Communication and language
Another key skill in both fields is communication. The ability to talk through a clinical problem with peers and to communicate solutions to patients is fundamental to practising medicine. Programming languages are another vocabulary just like the vocabulary of medicine. Recalling this vocabulary and being able to describe succinctly to others are skills you acquire through repeated practice, patient by patient. This type of knowledge acquired is well suited to being a software developer. Sometimes the types of problem you will encounter are too large to solve yourself.
Another skill that is continually part of being in healthcare is persistence. The ability to continue in circumstances that are difficult. You’ve already had this going through medical school and possibly post-graduate training. The confidence in knowing you can do difficult things should be empowering when embarking on the journey of coding.
Separate emotions from thinking
One of the other skills that are just as important in medicine as doing is the ability to separate the emotion of the situation with rationally thinking through a situation. Arguably a harder skill to acquire that takes time and experience. You probably have already had the experience of this in your medical career so far. Adapting that type of metacognitive approach to how your feeling is important in programming. Frustrations can be high, particularly when you’re tired and not feeling at your sharpest. Sometimes programming can lead you down rabbit holes for days without any clear end in sight. This ability to walk away, talk to someone who can help and to come back with a fresh look instead of soldiering on beating your head against the wall is an important part of learning to code.
Having now talked about some key things in being able to code, I hope you feel more prepared to take the leap into this diverse world of programming. A general skill set that allows you to create your own image of the world and to be part of a community that is constantly in search of improvement!
Come join us on the slack community to learn more about taking on this journey.