Creating Software isn’t a Job…
…It’s a lifestyle. I’ll explain why in a second, but first let’s get some context.
Here are a couple of people that are in the wrong profession:
We’ll start with the engineer. If he were a character in The Wizard of Oz, I can tell you what the Wizard’s diagnosis would be: He has no passion. He thinks he can just phone in his programming career in a 9–5 setting and be done with it.
The cargo-cultist is a more interesting case. Here’s a young man that is trying to decide if programming is the right career for him. He wants to become a better programmer, but he’s unsure about his skillset. He (wrongly) blames his learning abilities for his shortcomings, when really he has all the tools he needs to succeed — He’s simply not motivated enough.
There’s a simple fact that neither of these gentleman have yet realized:
Software is art.
Being a software developer is like being an artist. You aren’t just creative for 8 hours a day. You can’t turn it on and off. Your motivation to create ebbs and flows around the clock.
Not into the art thing? Fine. Here’s my* other analogy.
Programming is a sport.
A competitive one, like
Do you think footballers only play football during games? Or even just games and practices? Of course not. They love football. They play as much as they can.
Would anyone ever think it’s stupid that footballers make jokes about football? Or play football on weekends? Or try to change the world by kicking a ball? Never.
Near the end of a losing streak, do the players blame their skills? Is everyone else just more talented? Don’t make me laugh. They get out there and train as hard as they can, because they love what they do.
And so do we.
If you’ve any doubt left, it’s time to start thinking about your next gig…
* Ok, so this wasn’t entirely my metaphor; hat tip to davefp for the assist :)