As I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to observe the bloom and exponential growth of information technology. From the first computer that I shared with my brother to various gaming consoles, I could have been labeled as a stereotypical geek child. My passion for technological entertainment helped me live a surprisingly fun life, but it led me to an unexpected trap that handicapped a big part of my generation.
While I always had a knack for school and always did enough to stay on top and get by, my interest in computers and video games started dominating my life. From my teenage years to adolescence, I conditioned myself to enjoy my hobbies without restrictions. Only as I reached adulthood did I realize that my obsession with video games has morphed into addiction and stripped me of any ambition.
As any conscious video game enthusiast will tell you, such addiction is surprising because it rarely gets the publicity it deserves. Usually, everyone celebrates technological progress and dismisses the shadow it casts on a generation encapsulated in a digital bubble. Just because video game addiction has no lethal consequences does not mean it cannot sabotage a healthy way of life.
The red flag that helped me change my life for the better was a conscious observation of attention span decay. Career paths that seemed appealing for a wide variety of reasons became unappealing and boring.
To change my life, I decided to stick to my passion for computers and turn it into a strength. By pursuing coding tasks that interest me, I started to make money with simple software and discovered a niche that kept me focused and engaged – web scraping. My path to salvation was data aggregation, and it reignited my ambition.
In this article, I will go over the technical details, tips, and interests that got me hooked on coding and web scraping. What makes programming appealing to me are the endless possibilities – because there is no end goal, you have to enjoy the journey. By coding and using my web scrapers, I also learned about proxy servers. Because I live in Europe, I decided to use a US proxy to access geo-blocked websites and collect their data. US proxies helped me extract statistical information from pages linked with my hobbies and associate my new pursuit with other interests in my life. While I used different proxy servers over my short career, today I go with Smartproxy because I know I’ll get the best deals for web scraping, as well as educational material to learn more about the utilization of intermediary servers. Stick around if you believe programming can help you change your life as well!
While I could always imagine myself pursuing a profitable career with passion, the motivation it generates quickly dwindles away. The development of valuable skills is impossible without discipline. While you can always imagine yourself working on your dream project, most of us visualize the end result.
The lack of self-control is what keeps coders from learning challenging parts of programming that are not appealing. To enjoy the fruits of labor, first, you have to put your head down and work. If you cannot get straight into the action right away and lose interest too quickly, you are not alone. I achieved my goals by taking it one step at a time and building progressive discipline, and its effects not only improved my pursuit of a coding career, but also other areas of my life.
While discipline can go a long way, passion gives purpose to hard work. If you struggle to find an appealing coding discipline, try to link your other hobbies and interests to stimulate your education. Personal projects are the best teachers because they help you build experience and force you to address problems head-on and look for solutions. Despite my interest in computers, I’m a big basketball fan. The desire to collect statistical data about my favorite sport helped me break out of my rut and start web scraping.
To combat my obsession with video games, I managed to redirect my addictive tendencies into something profitable and meaningful. While I managed to find projects that kept me engaged throughout my educational experience, earning money by programming got me addicted. If I lack motivation, I can always imagine the value of every line of code in money.
While managing income for a young adult can be challenging, through trial and error I learned to use it to pursue the necessary tools for my craft. Investments in proxy servers helped me land serious web scraping gigs and get the most of my scrapers. Having a US proxy or any server provided by a legitimate provider makes data extraction tasks much more efficient and enjoyable.
As time goes, maturity brings changes in priorities. Staying in one place without any goals to pursue can quickly lead to burnout. What catches many of us off-guard is mental stagnation. Looking within yourself will help you capture the state of mind when your primary motivators no longer interest you. Even if some parts of my programming career are not as appealing as they used to be, making money is a great motivator. Scraping the web on Upwork has put me through college, while discipline helps me stay focused as I discover new ways to find fulfillment in my work. Coding has changed my life, and it can change yours too!