I got a lot of intelligent responses my question of "Is software development slowly killing me?" I thought I'd like to cover a couple as a weekend bonus. Since it's a borderline personal finance topic, it may be worth skipping if you are not into that kind of thing.
One of the best responses was from Programmer who said:
Have you tried learning a new or growing technology? Go where the demand is, become an expert, and work as a consultant to maximize your earnings... The best paid people aren't the code monkeys, but the ones who learn new tech. on their own, love what they do, and as a result have excellent skills because they're passionate about their tech... But, if you're lazy, then you're probably not worth a premium consulting rate anyway. Right?
- I have consulted and at $150+/hr. Unfortunately, I was skilled in a rare technology that no longer has the demand or potential to earn that. I'm not sure consulting is the answer for everyone as Programmer implied to be.
- I have gone where demand is (Silicon Valley), learned new technology (for me that was Java), but I have not become an "expert" or a consultant (yet). I didn't get to mentioning it, but one of the conversations I had with the friend was how Java (which is where the demand is nowadays) is extremely slow to get an application up and going. Someone in my last company had the equivalent of 200 lines of code to simulate a light bulbs state: on or off. That is not something to be passionate doing or something that motivates me to become an expert. It's something that motivates me to create a website that can me money in way other than programming and leave it to brilliant people in third world countries who will do it for much less than myself.
- As far as being lazy, my name is a reference to many articles about lazy programmers being the best kind of programmers: see this article and this one.
Here are some statements that I found myself nodding in agreement with...
Used Vans Girl said, "I think the problem isn't programming its monotony." Brip Blap echoed that with "Anything you do as a routine becomes dull."
East Side Food Geek said, "It sounds to me like software development ISN'T killing you, but rather the jobs you've had.... In any case, your side business gives you some freedom to be picky, to rebuild your personal brand and reenter the marketplace on your own terms." This comment was dead on and a reason why I started to look to side business. And I've found that as I start to look in the workplace, I can be extremely picky.
Ryuko mentioned "coding would not be a viable job, especially since more and more of them are being outsourced." I agree with that. AskDong said, "I often feel the same way. I'm burnt out, and often feel i'm letting my coworkers down. It really is a terrible feeling to want to do more but somehow not being able to muster it." Yep, I couldn't agree more with that.
And the one thing that I found wasn't true IN MY EXPERIENCE (I might need to just be in different places) as a Senior Software Engineer...
Kitty said, "One shouldn't confuse a software engineer with an application programmer, though, as some posters above seemed to do. Software engineering is not about coding, it is about system architecture, design, algorithms, problem-solving, ability to learn new technologies, creativity. Programming is the most trivial part of the job."
It should be that way, but I've found that companies often already have architecture and technologies in place and just need to extend it. That reduces the amount of design, creativity, and even algorithms that I could use. It left me with only programming. Often times I was doing very repetitive cut and pasting. This leads me to believe that it was more the job than anything else.
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