I was a cook in my past life. I enjoyed it but there comes a time into a mans life when he needs to pursue greener pasteurs and his own dream, but as for me, my dream is to become a software developer. While I was in highschool, I knew that my passion was in web development. I have made my first website at the age of 14; back when
frames are the way to style a page. I got side tracked though and became a cook. I did like cooking but it wasn’t a profession where I would have a personal fulfilment. There is still something different about writing an app that would potentially be used by millions of people; creating something out of almost nothing (all you really need is a reference and a laptop/computer).
While I was in an interview a few months ago, I was asked what I really liked about programming, and my answer was really simple: “Programmers are the gods of technology. We create, we build, and we shape the future of technology”, and I honestly believe that. What we write now, would greatly affect the future.
Before I quit my job though, I was told by a TON of people not to pursue computer programming. It is absurd to think that somehow, in some way, shape or form, would someone try to convince me not to pursue my dream; but they did have valid points.
1. a ton of apps
There are a ton of apps now adays that we don’t really need one anymore. One day, there will be no need for programmers because all the apps have been written already and we would just use other programs that would create other programs. While there is truth into what they have theorized, there will always be a need for programmers because there is always a need for programmers who would maintain what the programmers yesterday built. And constantly, software is evolving: that means, we are constantly creating tools that would help us build the next big thing. Also, improving the tools that we use, making it more secure, more efficient and better in a lot of ways.
2. it is really hard to find jobs
It is true that it is extremely hard to find a developer job now adays but I did not become a software developer because of the money. I would gladly write software that I love for the bare minimum of living. (Just give me enough to pay rent and buy beer/whiskey, then I would be happy). And while it is true that it is hard to find the first job as a software developer, it is not too hard to find the next job after that. After I got my first contract as a freelance developer, after a few weeks, I got my second contract and after a few weeks I got hired as a TA and finally got hired into my dream job. Landing the first job is always the hardest but that is true in a lot of fields as well. I know a lot of people having a hard time finding a job as a pre-school teacher!
3. the dreaded 9 - 5 job
While a lot of people think that a 9 - 5 job is horrible, I think its great. I have worked for 5 years as a cook and the hours that I work is the hours where everyone is going out and having fun. That is from 3:00 to 11:30. Think about it, the jobs that does not require you to be at the office from 9 - 5 are the jobs that is catered for the benefit of people who work from 9 - 5. Cooks and servers work especially hard during lunch time and dinner time because thats when the ‘regular people’ go out and eat / drink /have fun.
Even though I do think there are a ton of reasons why everyone should consider becoming a software developer, I think its more important to give the reasons why NOT to become a developer.
Yes, as a programmer, you would be able to earn a lot of money and potentially three times more than what most cooks make or double of what most servers make. But doing it for the money would be the worst reason to get into the programming world. You would hate the time being stuck in a puzzle which I think you should love. If you love sinking your teeth into a problem where a lot of people get stuck on, then I highly encourage learning to code, but money should never be the only motivator.
i have an idea
Although an idea is a good motivator to penetrate the coding world, the question is what would happen if your idea did not land like how you thought it would? Ideas are a diamond dozen and most of them would fail. While I wish that most ideas that are built becomes successful, trying to create the next facebook of Google will never be easy. There is still a huge luck component to it. But if you are willing to take the risk, then by all means, learn to code.
So that being said, what is a good reason to become a software developer?
the love of puzzles
A wise man once said that the love for the pursuit of destination is as important as the yearning to get the destination itself. One constant in being a software developer is that every day there is a new puzzle. I do think as a developer, you have to love what you do, and what you would be doing is solve puzzles everyday.
If you are always curious on how something works, then being a software developer is a dream job. Not only you would have to learn a lot of languages and tools, you would be soon overwrite a few things for it to suit your needs and maybe create your own tool. But my advice is you have to share what you have discovered; let millions of people see what you have created and in turn they will share their knowledge with you.
And although I do disagree a lot with why people take computer programming, I do advocate that everyone should learn even the basics of programming. Knowing how to write code will enable you to have a better logical skill, which in my opinion would be very helpful in any kind of job. Knowing what a computer does, and how it operates will solve a lot of problems! Even with basic HTML and CSS, you can create a beautiful websites and it is not that hard to do (although I do admit I have to improve on my design skills)
Learn how to code not because you hope to get a job that pays extremely well. Learn how to code because you want to learn how to talk to a computer. Learn how to code because it is fun to solve a lot of puzzles. Learn how to code because it is a great way to practice logical thinking.