Confessions of a Web Developer XV

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It's been quite a while since I've gotten a few things off of my chest and since I'm always full of peeves and annoyances I thought it was time to unleash:

  • I sometimes regret being a software engineer.  I've been doing a lot of manual labor for a friend lately (helping him build his house) and at the end of the day I see a physical object built and I'm cut up and tired.  My fingers are bleeding, my legs are tired and dirty, and I'm ready to pass out.  Satisfaction.  Other times I see college kids cutting my neighbor's lawn and I'm incredibly jealous, as I'm stuck on this damn machine every day...
  • ...though accountants would inform me it's better to do what I do.
  • I'm getting really annoyed with Apple and the lack of advancement with Safari.  No webm support, still prefixing properties Chrome unprefixed forever ago...get with it, Apple.  Now I get why Google created Blink...
  • I don't live in California and I'm glad I don't.  Last trip I went to a bar with dev friends after work and everyone around me was talking tech.  There's more to life than tech.  When you leave work...leave work.
  • I feel like a terrible father.  Even when I'm having fun with my son, I catch myself playing around on phone constantly.  Checking Twitter, Facebook, my stocks, etc.  A horrible habit I need to train myself away from.
  • Maybe Greece's dire financial situation will make my bitcoin investment green again...
  • HBO and Showtime now available as their own service...a la carte TV is coming, and I cannot wait.  I have Netflix, HBO Now, and Showtime for less than $40.  Miles better than cable.
  • I don't do framework-centric posts anymore and it seems weird -- remember when frameworks ruled the world?!
  • I'm so cheap that I have a hard time using gift cards. Man, I'm cheap.
  • The only thing keeping cable television companies in business?  Live sports.
  • Having writer's block sucks.  It happens too often lately.
  • My Node.js skills are pathetic. I'm petrified that I've fallen behind in this industry.

Did I say anything out of line?  Let me know!

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Discussion

  1. David,

    If you aren’t doing something you love then you didn’t choose the right career path. You must find the thing that gives you such enjoyment that you don’t even realize the time passes.

    I never thought I would be a code monkey, but all I do all day is customize wordpress sites for people all day. I still love what I do, but I always thought I would be managing monkeys like me. Still working on that dream…

    Guess what David?! Your human, we all second guess ourselves all the time.

    Now crank on the TV and watch some Netflix with your kids because it seems like you just need a little vacation away from that chair!

    – Jim

  2. The grass is always greener on the other side ;)
    However I completely get the desire for manual labour. That’s why I picked up woodworking as a hobby. Having some sort of physical contrast to the computer work is really important in my opinion.
    And as far as your mobile is concerned, leaving it another room works wonders. You can respond to calls, but don’t absentmindedly reach for it every other minute.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Rob

    There is nothing wrong with the programming industry, it’s the fact that the tech giants and the startup culture have made us believe that in order to be the ‘Rockstar’, ‘Ninja’, ‘Monkey’ etc. you have to be on top of the game or best of the best in the industry; so, we give up friends, family, social life just to stay competitive. You will rarely see these days hiring of junior devs, and those that are considered as junior devs and get hired basically, have all the experiences of a senior dev.

    On top of that, don’t forget this new trend of github. If you haven’t spent your pastime dedicating to open source projects, you have very little chance to get a job!

    So, those few devs who don’ give a shi*t about family and social value, are glued to the computer while others who value these essential elements of life feel way behind and often quit all together.
    It is sad but very true!

  4. MattS

    Interesting random assortment! There are times staring at a screen all day gets old, but indeed the pay is worth it. I think your best bet is doing what your doing – get your physical fix with after-work projects and appreciate your bank account along the way.

    And live sports is exactly why we still pay for cable/satellite! When we move away from the hometown teams, a la carte will be the way to go.

    Now take a break from your phone, take your son and go spend some gift cards.

  5. Rob

    Also forgot to mention, these guys who would say, ‘if you don’t like what you do then you better start looking something else;’ these are the guys who are tools for the tech companies, cause those companies know they can take advantage of these anti-social group more than those that value social life.
    These tech giants are making billions of dollars in profit in the back of these lifeless devs while those with social values don’t stand a chance.

    And the bizarre part of all of these, recently they started taking liquid food called ‘soylent’ https://www.soylent.com/ in order to save time and compete. I mean, are you fucking serious!

  6. Bernardo

    It’s a good thing to realise that virtual stuff is just virtual. Turn off and you have the whole *real* world at your feet! :)

  7. I got a sititng/standing varicel desk from amazon, check it out. It allows you to still do your computation work, while getting the benefits of increased blood flow and circulation when standing. I agree with you so much, this is why I go out for a nice walk on all my off days.

    Develop and exercise routine and go out for walks, does wonders.

  8. MaxArt

    “When you leave work…leave work”

    And yet, you own a quite successful blog about web development, and somehow I doubt you’re doing it for work.
    Talking about work outside worktime means you’re passionate about your work. That’s a nice thing. I wouldn’t want to be one of those people that do their duties just to bring their salaries home. That’s alienating.

    “Maybe Greece’s dire financial situation will make my bitcoin investment green again…”

    Frankly, there’s not a nice thing to say. I know you’re far away from Greece, but they’re in a pretty grave and dangerous economical situation, with a lot of uncertainty about their future.
    What would Lea Verou say?
    Of course everyone’s looking at their wallets in the end, but… let’s keep it for ourselves.

  9. I can relate to most of these. I don’t pay for any media services, let alone cable, though I should start pitching in for my friend’s Netflix account. :)

    I definitely know where you’re coming from on point #1. The more I think about being a developer, the more I realize that I’m being paid to try to solve 1st-world problems that have little or no positive impact on the world. I still feel a good sense of accomplishment when I finish something large/complicated/awesome, but I wish I could convince myself to work in some way that benefits people in 3rd-world situations besides shelling out a portion of my paycheck.

    Your last two points are big ones as well.

  10. I’m on the verge of deciding between a career in front-end web development and digital marketing. If I may say so, I’m quite good at both of them.

    I want to spend time with my family, and I don’t want to become this introvert that coding turns you into.

    I’m equally passioned about both of these, so it’s not a matter of “what I like more”.

    I just don’t think that I can keep up with constant changes in development any more ( although I’m 26, I started doing this when I was 12 ).

    David, do you think that it would be the best to direct my career to digital marketing, and possibly UX design?

  11. Othon

    It’s alright to hate what we do everyday. We are humans at the end and is unavoidable to second think about other things we could do like what if you could be a… audio engineer or a stunt man. Probably you will be the best but you will never know.

    This article is very good for me because famous Devs like you are always looked like guys with super powers or productivity machines but they are humans with humans issues and writing about them requires courage but also helps to recognize that devs are not machines. Like you said “When you leave work…leave work.” (I’m having a hard time doing that BTW).

    About parenthood. I suggest you live more mindful and live the moment, if you are playing with your kid(s) then be with them because time with you usually is all that they really want.

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