Derik Whittaker

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Why I Love being a Software Developer

This post is part 1 of a 2 part mini-series on why I both Love and Hate being a software developer.  This is mostly a semi-generic rant about my views on the software industry as a whole, and NOT about any one company that i have worked for.

I have been a software developer for the past 8+ years, and every year I ask myself 'Why do I still do this?'.  The answer is pretty simple really.  I love it, it is the passion that drives me as a professional.

Why I love being a developer:

Because there is always something new/exciting to learn
IT Rocks.  What other job can you learn something new EVERY day?  What other job can you find yourself wanting for more EVERY day.  Today more then before our industry is changing at the speed of light.  The sky is the limit right now on what we as a industry can do.  If this does not excite you, I am not sure what does.

Also, you should NEVER become bored as a developer.  There is always something new to learn.  It could be a new language, a new tool, a new framework, a new design pattern or a new methodology.  The point is, you can code for 20+ years and never stop learning. 

Soak it up, be the sponge.

Because I have the opportunity to solve some fun and challenging problems
Almost every day i have the opportunity to solve some crazy business problem. Sure some are better then others, and some are more fun then others, but it is still really cool.

One of the most gratifying things for me is helping a business succeed.  It is really cool to see the fruits of your labor making a difference. 

One of the really great things about solving problems is that there are so many possible ways to solve most problems.  You put 10 developers into a room and ask them to all solve the same problem, you will likely get 10 different answers.  This open and dynamic nature of our industry allows for crazy freedom and extremely rich rewards.


The Great Communities
The one thing i have come to appreciate over the past few years is the great communities that are out there.  Regardless if you are developing in .Net  Java, Rails, or what ever, there is a community out there.

These great communities offer many things

  1. Friends
  2. Knowledge
  3. Jobs


Because it is fun to be a 'Geek'

Lets be honest.  Most people have no clue what it is we do on a daily basis.  Most of the time, the only people that have any clue what we do are our peers.  This is kinda cool.  I like the phrase 'I can do what you do, but you cannot do what I do'.  I know this does not apply to all professions, but most.  I truly believe that most developers can learn another profession and do it pretty well, but i doubt most others can learn to code and do it well.  (ok, i am on an ego trip in regards to developers)

Even though we are 'geeky' we are also very well respected.  For proof of this just take a look at movies today.  How many movies have been released in the past 10 years where 'geeks' are made to look cool or even glorified.  If Hollywood gets it, it must be cool.

Because the pay is great
Ok, lets be honest, the pay rocks.  I know that I could not do anything else and make the same living.  Sorry, had to say this part.

Stay tuned for why I Hate being a software developer.

Till next time,


Posted 02-10-2008 2:37 PM by Derik Whittaker
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Comments

' + title + ' - ' + basename(imgurl) + '(' + w + 'x' + h +') wrote ' + title + ' - ' + basename(imgurl) + '(' + w + 'x' + h +')
on 02-10-2008 4:34 PM

Pingback from  ' + title + ' - ' + basename(imgurl) + '(' + w + 'x' + h +')

» Why I Love being a Software Developer wrote » Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-10-2008 4:46 PM

Pingback from  » Why I Love being a Software Developer

Why I Love being a Software Developer wrote Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-10-2008 5:10 PM

Pingback from  Why I Love being a Software Developer

Rod wrote re: Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-10-2008 6:23 PM

It's encouraging to hear this sort of article, good positive feedback on the career I am beginning!

Derik Whittaker wrote re: Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-10-2008 6:28 PM

@Rod,

Sorry to tell you, I will be posting part 2 of this in the next day or so.  This one tells the other side. :(

Derik

» Daily Bits - February 11, 2008 Alvin Ashcraft’s Daily Geek Bits: Daily links, development, gadgets and raising rugrats. wrote » Daily Bits - February 11, 2008 Alvin Ashcraft’s Daily Geek Bits: Daily links, development, gadgets and raising rugrats.
on 02-11-2008 8:08 AM

Pingback from  » Daily Bits - February 11, 2008 Alvin Ashcraft’s Daily Geek Bits: Daily links, development, gadgets and raising rugrats.

Franck wrote re: Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-12-2008 1:45 AM

This is a good post, but I will mostly disagree with the "I truly believe that most developers can learn another profession and do it pretty well, but i doubt most others can learn to code and do it well", because I don't think that the average software developer is above the average of other engineering jobs.

An average developer ;o)

Reflective Perspective - Chris Alcock » The Morning Brew #30 wrote Reflective Perspective - Chris Alcock » The Morning Brew #30
on 02-12-2008 2:42 AM

Pingback from  Reflective Perspective - Chris Alcock  » The Morning Brew #30

Derik Whittaker wrote re: Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-12-2008 5:40 AM

@Franck,

You may be right in regards to engineering jobs, but what about marketing, finance, accounting, HR, etc?

David Y. wrote re: Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 02-12-2008 11:25 AM

Derik:

I think your enthusiasm is great, and I applaud that you really love your job.

However, I think this view about software developer is a tad shortsighted or myopic.  I think you can substitute almost anything (surgeon, accountant, rocket engineer, nurse, floor sweeper, trench digger, etc.) for software developer, and your post will still ring true.

I am a software developer, and I too love my chosen profession, but there are a myriad other things (forest ranger, gene researcher, dog breeder, homeless advocate, etc) that I would just as interested in doing.  The only thing that prevents me from doing any or all these things are time and my generally sloth-y nature!

In any case, I think it's a good thing you're enthused about your job!

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

- Martin Luther King

The virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris

- Larry Wall

Jacob Proffitt wrote Testy Development
on 02-22-2008 10:56 AM

One of the things that irks me when discussing certain technical topics is a tendency towards boosterism

http://devlicious.com/blogs/derik_whittaker/archive/2008/02/10/why-i-love-being-a-software-developer.aspx wrote http://devlicious.com/blogs/derik_whittaker/archive/2008/02/10/why-i-love-being-a-software-developer.aspx
on 03-20-2008 1:54 AM
http://devlicio.us/blogs/derik_whittaker/archive/2008/02/10/why-i-love-being-a-software-developer.aspx wrote http://devlicio.us/blogs/derik_whittaker/archive/2008/02/10/why-i-love-being-a-software-developer.aspx
on 03-22-2008 2:56 AM
ibrahim _ TURKEY wrote re: Why I Love being a Software Developer
on 04-06-2009 3:41 PM

I do not agree with David Y. Most things Derik said about being a software developer does not ring true with most other professions out there. Ours is truly a profession where something new comes up EVERYDAY, No other job in the entire world has as many issues to deal with as we do, well maybe except the presidents. I will go as far as saying not even doctors have to learn as much as we have to to be the best in their chosen field. To produce the best possible solution for a given problem is mindstretching at the least. Programming may be many things to many people, but one thing it's not is boring. To me that alone makes it one of the best professions a smart, detail oriented person can have. btw I'm just an average guy working on an average project.

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