Should I jump into programming now in 2019?


I’m currently a 3D animator to be honest. for you guys who dont know, animating is a insanely heavy job to do, and I’m a senior (Sr.). But as a CG worker I cant help but notice the power and uprising trend of programming and Artificial Intelligent. So I need your help to have a overall picture of this industry.

A Sr. Animator like me can earn pretty much equal to a normal IT staff. But I see that programmers, or developers as Sr. positions can earn much bigger (in here they can earn around double my wage lol). So I’m wondering if should I start over as a fresh programmer? Is the chance of career high? I know as a fresher I cant expect the salary will be too high, but if the career is promising, with higher wage in the long run, it’s worth to try isnt it?

And are there many opportunities of programming jobs out there? I heard that developers in China are in deep stress because the chance of work is getting harder and smaller by time. 

And I’m, also curious about AI as well. Is it a bit late now in 2019 to start learning AI (like I’m a fresher with no knowledge of coding at all)? AI’s indeed a really promising tech, with various of abilities. I’ll be really happy if I can be part of the show!!

Hi @iluvpython,

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I personally believe there is never a bad time to learn programming.

But it sounds to me like you are thinking about a career change. Depending on where you live, how old you are, your sex, how you plan to “learn”, and how much money you have saved up: all could make a big difference on whether this is a “good idea”.

There are a lot of programming jobs available in many countries. You might need to relocate to be able to apply to any of them. Much as I hate to say it, programming is considered a “young person’s” job: being older will be a handicap especially for an entry level job. As a “fresher” you’ll only be qualified for an entry-level job, so you’ll need a financial cushion to relocate / take a pay cut.

Unless you’re planning on getting a university degree, you’ll probably “learn programming” via a code camp or self-taught. Could lead to a challenge being qualified for work. 

Any successful “AI developer” who learns via “self-taught” I’d presume to have already had qualified education / experience first.

Not trying to only throw objections in your way: these are just factors to take into account.  Demand is high so I’m certain you could switch careers. But I’d also “not quit your day job” at least until you’ve got a solid new job lined up; I’d also not expect a “senior developer” level of salary “soon”.


Because your in CG I would strongly suggest you get started in Java/JavaFX and or Javascript with HTML and CSS. I took HTML/CSS as a first language then had Javascript and HTML/CSS with another class. The sooner you get to understand the syntax and how things work, the better off you’ll be.

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Thank you so much for helping me out!! It’s really nice of you.

I’m 27 this year, that’s the reason why I’m pretty concern about jumping or not. I think I’m in the age that requires thinking not only about me but my family as well. One wrong move then I’ll pay an very expensive price.

I’m learning Python on treehouse. My plan is almost like you said, learn Python, upload my projects onto Internet, get influences, and start looking for junior, or ideally freelance or remote positions first. I really think I’ll need to maintain my day job so I can have a stable wage each month. But yeah, I’m a bit old compares to the industry’s average age, so it’s rather a try before I consider it my career seriously.

The knowledge about coding won’t be wasted anw. The reason I choose Python is I’m using AUTODESK’S Maya, and Python is also a language in there. With Python I can be a programmer and if things don’t go well, I can use it in my CG job as well.

Thank you so much for your advices. I understand the industry better now! Btw you have LinkedIn? I’d love to join your connection there! Cheers!

HI, thank you for your advices. But I’m a bit wondering, isn’t Java supported anymore, is it? And I’m using AUTODESK’S Maya btw, so I’m learning Python. Python is also a language in Maya, so it will be useful for me to write plugins for my own workflow.


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Another part of your equation should be “how much longer can I do CG?” Not knowing anything about the industry, at what point are you “too old” and some fresh kid who knows Maya 2030 replaces you?

Are there opportunities where you currently work? CG or other automation projects, software development teams, etc who might be willing to take on a starter person and let you contribute somehow?  Can you leverage your CG / industry experience plus programming ability at work or elsewhere? Move into a QA / lead position?

Finally, I’d ask in some other places, if you haven’t already. This is only one random person’s opinion and it may be wrong! E.g. try the “ask Hacker news” forum, or some resource specific to your industry.

Best of luck!

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Thanh you so much again!!! I understand (or at least I think so) the CG industry, which an animator like me can work all the way to my 60s. Animation is a pretty long career, the more experience you get, the higher your position will be. But if I know programming as well, I can reach to a higher or a different position much faster. But if I get older with my knowledge and experience doesn’t grow anything at all, then for sure the freshers will replace me.

There are two more reason for my decision. One is that I highly believe my CG industry is going to change real soon. AI tech is changing the way we work, CG industry is no different. So i think if I keep working as a normal animator, someday I’ll be replaced not by freshers, but AI (God help the freshers then). And the other reason is that animation cant lead me to where I really want. I want to be a part of the technology age, or at least can follow it. Animation like any other arts jobs, always respects the traditional things.

And thank you for the website. I’m asking the same question on Quora as well but for sure I’m checking it out. Thanks a bunch!!!

hopefully you are more enlightened now as to switch to programming or not.I am currently a computer science student and i just started learning python and i think its a pretty cool programming language…would love to hear more on your ideas when you do figure it out totally.cheers

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Well I don’t know where this’s gonna lead me to but I’m learning python already on treehouse. Its concepts are interesting but pretty hard for me to understand all at the first place, but I think I’m getting used to it.

If you want to, I’d love to add you to my connection! Add me on LinkedIn: