Based on research, about 30% of software developers in the world are self-taught. They find different ways to acquire knowledge; through various platforms, channels, but also programmer friends who, just like them, were at the beginning and faced the challenge of how to code 'Hello, world'.
I was interested in what it was like to be a self-taught developer from Asmir's experience, and who he learned the most from and how. He says that his curiosity led him into the world of IT and that it all started with a neighbor. "I had a neighbor who is a mechanical engineer and who was involved in IT, and with him I started learning about electronics and IT, and finally about programming languages. When I got my first job, I realized how much I still don't know, but also how much he gave me a good foundation." Asmir says that with self-taught developers, progress is slower in his experience than when you have mentors, but that it is not absent. "It used to be difficult to motivate yourself to learn something new, to make something out of your career, but curiosity is what always pushed me forward. Youtube meant a lot to me in that process, because that's how I also got access to resources and literature."
Based on a 2020 survey of 65,000 Stack Overflow developers, 83% of them said they had already experienced burnout, while 15% said they had intense problems with anxiety, depression and other mental issues.
"People here don't talk openly about this topic, we don't have that culture, especially not among developers. The average developer who is 40 years old spends at least 20 years under stress and if you haven't found a way to channel it, you're in big trouble..."
As we touched on mental hygiene from the aspect of the IT industry, I asked him if he had his ways of maintaining it. He says that he started working intensively on this aspect of his health 4 years ago. "When you get married, you realize that your mental health depends on how happy the other person will be with you, but also how your mental health affects other relationships, family, friendships...All this can be channeled by going out into nature, going for a walk, any physical activity." For mental hygiene, as Asmir says, it is important to discover your talents and have a hobby so that you don't get into overthinking.
Asmir's great love and something that represents more than a hobby for him is music and playing instruments. He graduated from a music high school and plays the piano, accordion, and ukulele. "I can say that I am an artistic soul; there is a strong emotional connection between coding and music," he says. "I find an escape from IT in music, and when music creates monotony, I return to programming."
Asmir says that, in his opinion, one of the main problems in the IT industry is that young people enter the industry exclusively for economic reasons, which will make this industry mainstream in the future and what is already happening with layoffs, etc. will happen more and more. we continue to talk about the challenges in the IT industry, he also shares with me some personal realizations concerning the human psyche and mental health. "In my opinion, the biggest challenge in the IT industry, in addition to mostly bad people management, is overthinking in general. If you add to that the fact that programmers are very often lonely people, who are very easily alienated, then problems with stress, with the psyche, depression, developing autoimmune diseases start inevitably... The problem of IT people is often that they can be unproven in terms of ignorance towards themselves and that aspect of health." Asmir also says that the problem is that people today are looking for better economic opportunities, so they go abroad, and better economic opportunities mean more stress, that is, more problems with mental health.
Asmir is the owner of an IT company that offers its clients, developed businesses from the world of online sales, services such as business model training through various applications - CRM systems, as well as services such as server and database optimization, system scaling, cyber security, etc. He touched on what it's like to be a private citizen and what he learned from it, and what he wished he had known earlier. He says that working for others and working for yourself is not so different because both have their own flaws and virtues as well as specific responsibilities. "We all should read more the law. You need to educate yourself; for example, every entrepreneur should know something about taxes, they should learn about it in school, also what is debt, what is money laundering. IN our country, everyone owes everyone, that's why the country is where it is."
Asmir claims that his identity is now primarily linked to programming because that is what he devoted himself to the most, he says that in 5 years he does not see himself as a programmer at all, but in marketing, business development, music, or anything else that is not IT and adds that for unknown reasons career change is in the world of IT a taboo topic.
They say there are two types of people; those who always see a solution to every problem and those who see a problem to every solution. Asmir definitely belongs to the first group of people and is optimistic by nature and you will rarely see him worried and moody. "My motto in life is that only a stupid person does not change. I always try to break the monotony through humor, even if it's sometimes bizarre. They say that intelligent people are funny people, but I simply think that you should always say what you think, and be open to change. My friends say that they have never met a person who can spout so much stupidity in one hour, but in that hour of my stupidity, they fell laughing, and that's enough for me."