What is (not) required for you to become a developer
So, yeah. Let’s talk about passion once again.
Of course Programming Doesn’t Require Talent or Even Passion, but being passionate about programming surely doesn’t hurt!
If you have followed my story so far, you already know I haven’t been born a programmer, or a developer (if you care to mark the difference between these two). I wouldn’t even say I’m talented, maybe I do have talents, maybe I’m also a talented programmer and I just don’t know that, but the thing that drives me into just wanting to be better at this day after day is a very strong passion.
What exactly are you passionate about, you weirdo?
It’s not just writing code, I’m not passionate about searching for solutions or solving problems, I’m passionate about being able to apply my knowledge every day in a way that allows me to create something. Literally out of thin air.
Thanks to many programmers that came before me, I can now take advantage of their hard work and use cool frameworks and very advanced and abstract languages that help me building a big app with magic shortcuts. I sometimes barely know what I’m doing, really, and things just appear in front of my eyes.
And then I get curious..
I want to know more about it.
That is passion.
- You don’t need to stay up all night looking for a solution to your most recent problem to consider yourself passionate about your work (but you can definitely consider yourself obsessed).
- You don’t need to always be talking about that and just that at all times to consider yourself a passionate programmer (but you have my total approval if you want to call yourself boring as porridge in that case).
- You really, REALLY do not need to constantly spend your free time coding or reading about updates regarding programming to consider yourself passionate about it (but if you manage to do that, you have my outmost respect, brother/sister).
I don’t do all of these things, I read manga, I play League of Legends, I play volleyball, I cook and eat too much, I watch TV shows and anime, I hang out with my friends and I spend an embarrassing amount of time checking out new cat videos on youtube (way more often than what I care to admit). I do many many different things but I still feel a strong passion that connects me to what I’m doing right now as a developer. I feel it when I realize I’m totally absorbed my the task I’m working on and hours just pass by without even noticing. I feel it when I find myself making stupid high pitched sounds every time one of my tests passes. I feel it when I go to an interview for a job and only talking about the possibility to work in a team, do my part, contribute in creating something that will have a part of me in it, makes my heart beat faster and I get so excited I actually panic and start mixing up my words.
I don’t want to breathe code as soon as I wake up, I want Nutella when I wake up. I don’t want to dream about testing, I want to dream about unicorns vomiting rainbows. What I want is to get the chance to code every time I feel like it, because I can do it. I want this to be my job because it gives me purpose and makes me feel part of something important. Because I’m making something. Because I’m helping people. Because I’m needed.
I have read often about that thing, impostor syndrome or whatever. Yes sure OF COURSE I feel like I’m an impostor when I say I’m a junior web developer. I have studied Life Science for more than 10 years and web development for more or less 5 months. If I want to be rational that is more or less the very definition of impostor. But I just decide that I don’t care. Because I like what I’m doing now and I wouldn’t go back to what I was before, because now I know what drives me and I could never cope with the lack of this feeling in my life (when people say that ignorance is bliss, uh?).
I’ve been asked a lot what it is that I want to be in 5 years. I have studied and performed in both back and front end, always testing my code and trying to work Agile, using Scrum methodologies, making the most of my group projects trying to actually help and learn as much as I could from others and from myself as well. As of now, I see myself as a back end developer, a front end developer, a tester, a “whateverer” really. I do like everything I happen to do since I started my path down this road. I’m not even that sentimental to say “oh no you know, I am a Ruby developer and that’s my first love”. I am not passionate about Ruby! But I surely can state that I’m passionate about the concepts behind the techniques I use. Testing is one of them and I absolutely love it.
Software and cathedrals are much the same — first we build them, then we pray. (Samuel T. Redwine)
Yeah man! …Oh no wait, I couldn’t disagree more not even if we were speaking two different languages and I thought you were saying that I should dye my hair blond.
We are in the era of Test and Behavior Driven Development, we do not need to pray, we just need to test properly (and maybe yeah, sure, you can still pray that your tests pass!). We have basically all the tools we need to actually make sure that the whole thing we want to build is going to work before even starting implementing the first piece of functionality.
If this doesn’t make you excited, if this doesn’t give you a reason to feel happy and motivated to go to work every day, then maybe the only solution for you is to eat a lot of chocolate.
Try chocolate, it will make you happy!
I’m serious again now. *concerned face*
You don’t have to be a programmer or a developer if you are not passionate about it, just try to find what it is that gives you the nice feeling in your stomach when you do it, that makes you curious and happy. Life is simply too short to be lived in agony, and if the job you are doing makes you miserable, just quit! Your position could be set free as a new position for someone that really really wants to do it, and maybe you would make a good cook! Or a decent gardener, or a writer, or whatever else that makes you happy.
Passion is not just a word, passion is the fuel of the soul and when consumed it produces happiness and satisfaction. It is worth it to pursue it.