Reflections on why I still enjoy being paid to code

I saw a tweet from a friend today, also a professional developer, expressing dissatisfaction with writing code for a living after 7 years at it, although he still enjoys doing it as a hobby. This is not the first time I’ve seen this sentiment expressed, which is why I consider myself very blessed to still enjoy my career after 7.5+ years of being paid to engineer and develop software. After giving it a bit of thought, I strongly suspect my enjoyment has come from variety – in those 7.5 years I have:

  • Developed extensively in C, Delphi and Python, developed significantly in Labview and dabbled in C#
  • Designed and developed code for embedded devices, desktop systems and workstations in factory environments
  • Developed low-level drivers, front-end GUI-based systems and several layers in between
  • Ported large legacy systems to new platforms and architected completely new systems
  • Designed a communications spec for device-to-PC communications and designed a variety of systems and tools around it
  • Designed and implemented a variety of database schemas
  • Assisted in administering a version control system
  • Played toolsmith, developing a number of internally used tools

On top of that, I’m regularly consulted on various languages, including C and Python, and have presented training courses on both. This last point is not meant as a boast (I’m hardly a guru on either language) but an indication that I’ve been fortunate enough to get enough exposure to both languages to teach them.

Looking at the list above, I seem to have lucked into the kind of job that changes regularly and keeps me interested – I’ve come to realise how rare this is and I’m certainly not going to take it for granted.

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