I am a computer science student and learning Java now a days.

I want to be a good developer/programmer.

I like reading books. I search on the internet for the related topics and study them. I refer to StackOverflow and other good programming websites daily but I code rarely. Is this a bad sign? If yes then what should I do to overcome this problem?

  • 12
    You need to provide more context. Obviously, it's not a problem if you're a neurosurgeon, but it is a problem if you're a programmer.
    – user8
    Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 19:10
  • 1
    Are you looking to become a professor or do you actually want to work in the industry? Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 19:15
  • Related but not exactly a dupe: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/3558/…
    – TheLQ
    Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 21:43
  • Yeah, I agree with huge amount of opinions that have been said here. In order to be a good developer, first off, you should "Develop". For example, if you are practicing Java, take a look at Android application development.
    – Adil
    Commented Nov 14, 2010 at 6:54
  • 2
    I eat rarely. Is that bad?
    – Job
    Commented Dec 30, 2010 at 17:05

10 Answers 10


Experience trumps all, if you aren't getting experience then yes you definitely have a problem if you want to be a great programmer.

Start on a new project or join another person's open source project. Get some experience. Write some code.

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    Agree. Writing code is a craft which needs to be exercised to be mastered.
    – user1249
    Commented Nov 14, 2010 at 9:54

Other answers were great, to me it all boils down to this:

  • if you have trouble programming are you in the right profession?
  • if you have trouble finding a problem (computer related) and coming up with a implementation to solve it are you in the right profession?
  • if you don't think about your programming assignments (work, school or personal) in your free time are you in the right profession?

There is a fine line between a hobbyist and a professional and this is what I think you need to determine for yourself by doing some self evaluation and soul searching. :-)

  • 2
    +1 - "Are you in the right profession?" More people need to ask themselves this question. Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 19:56

Almost all of the other answers contain the basic premise that coding is the best thing to learn coding. If your goal is to pass the FizzBuzz test, this is true, and at some point you do have to start writing a lot of code to get good at writing code.

However, your question is not "should I ever code" but rather, "I am learning and not focusing on coding: is that bad." But then you say in other comments that you do write some code doing exercises in books.

In my opinion, there's way too much emphasis on writing-code-to-learn-programming. I think it's just silly. Coding is the last thing you should be worried about. Studying software development is much more important than actually writing thousands of lines of code. You'll always end up writing a lot of code. While you're studying, you should not be focusing on what will best prepare you to code, but rather whatever part of your studies you actually like. If you like studying techniques and methodologies, study that.

Jobs usually come out of your specific strengths. If you have none -- and you're just another person who wrote a lot of code, and can write good code -- then you won't have any competitive advantage. Play to your likes. You'll code enough in due time.

  • @Chankey Pathak, sure thing and good luck. Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 19:21
  • In my experience most software development concepts require actual coding to stick.
    – user1249
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 23:22

If you do want to code more you should try a programming challenge website.

They're a great way to learn languages and flex your programmings muscles.

I am a big fan of the pythonchallenge.

Really good site to start.


Find some projects to work on. If you can't then find some puzzles to solve. See my answer to this question.

Programming puzzles.


You need to practice coding if you really want to be a good developer. If you're reading programming books, try to solve the provided exercises.

  • I am solving the problems given in the book. Is that enough? Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 5:59
  • Ok. Just keep on practicing. Anyway, you can also try to start a small project.
    – jean27
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 3:42
  • What kinda projects? please elaborate. Commented Sep 18, 2010 at 13:57
  • Projects that are interesting for you.
    – jean27
    Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 10:00
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    @chankey, if you easily solve problems in the book, you need a harder book next.
    – user1249
    Commented Nov 14, 2010 at 9:56

It depends on whether you're someone's manager that's always trying to tell them the "right way" to do it.

Seriously though... having a broad knowledge has served me well. And, if you're learning, than maybe the issue is you're focusing too much on technique and technology than finding problems to solve or neat ideas to bring to fruition?

  • Exactly ! I am more focusing on the techniques and on the methods for how to find the solution of a particular problem. Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 6:01
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    The danger is that you can fool yourself into thinking that that you've found a solution, but you may have misunderstood the problem or overlooked some complicating circumstance. Actually writing code will often force you to confront your misunderstandings and erroneous assumptions. Commented Oct 9, 2010 at 22:07

"It depends" would be my short answer to this. It isn't necessarily a bad sign, as my first programming job out of university I remember having to learn how to use Visual Studio, IIS, and MS-SQL Server on the job which I did accomplish, though this was back in 1997. I would suggest investigating how you learn something as well as what kind of algorithms do you know as some of them got drilled into my head like divide and conquer.


If your still a student, I would fret so much. Your course studies are for more important right now. However, once you leave the world of Academia, you might have a problem if you still have yet to find what your interested in within this field and don't code.

I'm in a similar dilemma, I'm a senior finishing my B.S in Computer Science I don't code outside of my course work at the moment.

It really frustrates me right now to be studying AP Statistics and Geological Sciences with respect to weather than work on my personal projects.

I have a Game project I so desperately want to work on but I got to graduate as well. (I know why Marc Zuckerburg and Bill Gates Dropped out now).

If these things are what prevent you from coding, don't worry. But if Coding doesn't motivate you, drive you, and the urge to create something really cool to you doesn't kick in by the time you graduate, I think you might have a problem.

  • yeah same problem, other subjects are also there, have to study all in same proportion. Commented Nov 14, 2010 at 8:18
  • same here, I'd love to code something cool besides the assignments but you rarely got enough time for this. Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 20:56

Depends on what platforms you're using. I know I'm finding that many newer platforms and technologies require less actual coding but more rigorous engineering. As a result, I'm coding less and less as time goes on.

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