Start living your dreams today as a Software Developer

What would you do if you hit the lottery? How can you do some of that right now?

Individuals are the sole cause of anything that’s ever happened.

This quote is the end of Philip Su’s Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Facebook blog post. In it he gives advice on working more constructively with your colleagues and achieving more in your career. I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already, and it is the inspiration for this post.

Never wait for a miracle to happen. Many people believe they are naturally unlucky. They say “knowing my luck…” something bad will happen. They are the same people who remember the bad times much more strongly than the good times, and it serves to reinforce their belief that “it always happens to me!” This cognitive bias misses the truth that we essentially make our own luck in life. Our actions and behaviors dictate our future successes and our failures.

I don’t play the lottery, and if you do my advice to you is to stop playing. The odds of winning the jackpot or any large amount are astronomical, and even if you do it won’t make you as happy as you think. Lottery winners are no happier than quadriplegics.

My advice is to save that money and put it towards a good book on programming. If you spend enough time practicing the advice in the book, the cost of the book could pay itself back a hundred times over.

It seems like there is too much gloom and doom in the world. We can’t reasonably solve all of the world’s problems, but we can look at ourselves and make positive contributions at a local level.

A career in Software Development remains one of the best. Here are ten reasons why it is such a great job:

  • 1. It’s always creative. You are making new things for a living.
  • 2. It’s always changing and evolving
  • 3. You learn something new every day
  • 4. Any boring repetitive task can be automated away, freeing you up for more interesting work
  • 5. There are always fresh challenges
  • 6. You get to work with some of the smartest people every day
  • 7. Good computer software can make a big difference to the world
  • 8. Developers are in high demand
  • 9. Because of high demand, for good developers it’s a fairly recession proof industry
  • 10. The top developer jobs pay very well
  • It’s easier than ever before to get started learning how to program. There are thousands of websites like this one aimed at helping other developers to learn more.
    Developers are generally very generous people. It’s amazing how many awesome developers are happy to sacrifice their free time to help other developers out. However, it’s likely that is part of the reason why they are awesome developers

    What’s more, there is not much that you need to get started as a developer. The only essentials are:

  • A desktop or laptop computer
  • An Internet connection
  • You almost certainly have all the equipment you need to be a developer already. Open source software means many very good development tools are available for free.

    If you aren’t already a professional developer, and I’d like to give a few words of advice now. A Computer Science degree can, and in my experience does help. But it is not the only way in. Some employers will insist on a degree, but others will be more open minded. To some employers a strong Github profile will be as or more impressive.

    I found my degree useful and it did help me to get into the industry. University is especially good at teaching the fundamentals that apply for a lot longer than any given technology that is currently considered hot.

    However a couple of years real industry experience is probably going to teach you more useful lessons than 3 or 4 years at university. In the further reading section there are links to some different opinions on whether study computer science is worth it. Whatever you decide, you need to make continuous learning a part of your life, you need to be humble and keep working hard to improve.

    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

    For those already in the industry, there are always bigger and better things to aspire to. If you haven’t already set your goals, add them to the goal wall now

    Further Reading
    Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Facebook
    The most common cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational
    Codeacademy Getting Started in Programming (absolute beginner’s)
    Six Reasons to Study Computer Science
    Do you really need a computer science degree
    Ray Nicholus Sleep Is For Quitters (advice for CS students and junior developers)

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s