Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




If you were not a developer

What would you have done, if you were not a developer or in tech business?

Dan
Friday, April 04, 2003

restaurant biz

         
Friday, April 04, 2003

restaurant critic

Bill Carlson
Friday, April 04, 2003

eating


Friday, April 04, 2003

Islamic scholar

peace
Friday, April 04, 2003

Building wooden boats. Campground and park reviewer.

Ron Porter
Friday, April 04, 2003

Architect... which helps explain why I'm fascinated by Joel's parallelogram offices.

Lou
Friday, April 04, 2003

Commentator on a "McLaughlin" style round table debate program.

Bored Bystander
Friday, April 04, 2003

Movie director.

Tim Sullivan
Friday, April 04, 2003

Mechanical Engineer

commanderSpock
Friday, April 04, 2003

Hmmm... :-)

Soccer player
Friday, April 04, 2003

How about "what are you going to do after software development thoroughly burns you out"? I haven't decided yet, but I better pick soon. ;)

Brad (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, April 04, 2003

Video editor or filmmaker

Ben Combee
Friday, April 04, 2003

Astronomer

dmooney
Friday, April 04, 2003

Church history scholar.

Kyralessa
Friday, April 04, 2003

prophet

mark
Friday, April 04, 2003

debutante
evil genius
valet parking attendant
Elbonian Ambassador
linguist (cunning)
origami instuctor
primary care taker
envelope sales
recombinant acronym evangelist

B#
Friday, April 04, 2003

Run a hockey school

B#
Friday, April 04, 2003

I would be a cricketer

anonymous
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Insurance Agent

Daniel Shchyokin
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Daniel

What you said!  LOL

B#
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Economist

smkr4
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Millionaire Rock Star...:-)

Prakash S
Saturday, April 05, 2003

I'd want another field where I could be creative, but still constructive.  (Video Editor is too artsy for me, besides before computers it was barbaric.)

I actually posed this question to others back in college, but with the additional constraint of being 100 years back.

In that case, I came up with metal working: crafting machines, tools, armor and the like.  Actually, a good friend of mine (a programmer at Xerox), spent his free time linking 1cm rings together to form chain mail.  He had coffee cans of links everywhere:  in every room in his apartment, his garage, his car, his girlfriend's apartment, his parents house, ...

Derek Woolverton
Saturday, April 05, 2003

White collar: Engineer, accountant, or actuary.

Blue collar: Construction (did a little bit of it between semesters in college) or fireman.  Many blue collar jobs actually pay more than white collar and have better job security.

T. Norman
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Professional footballer (soccer player to any Americans).

John C
Saturday, April 05, 2003

I see some people saying fantasy-type things like millionaire rockstar and professional soccer player ... come on, if you actually could have done those things you wouldn't have become a developer!

What would you and could you actually have done, if programming was not available as a paid occupation?

T. Norman
Saturday, April 05, 2003

cognitive scientist || gardener

na
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Me.  Oh I am.

Simon Lucy
Saturday, April 05, 2003

The other things I like are hard to make money at (art, music, writing, thinking).
After getting a Ph.D. in linguistics I considered being a college professor -- after 4 years of graduate school you need one or more years of low-paying post-doc, then 5 years of low-paying junior faculty, resulting in possible tenure (50% chance). Also, I saw a lot of political correctness and deception going on, which I hate.
You can be creative with research, but the total amount of time spent feeling creative and absorbed in your work is probably more for developers than for professors. Also, to be a teacher you really should love being around teenagers all the time, which I don't. And furthermore -- higher education has become a giant rip-off, and I would not like to be part of that.

The Real PC
Saturday, April 05, 2003


Law

Finance (Investments)

Writing (Well, I'd try ...)

Entrepreneur/Consulting Principal (One-person-shop)

Maybe a histroy professor. :-)


regards,

Matt H.
Saturday, April 05, 2003

I would like to publicly appologize to Daniel for my comments.  I did not mean to disparage him in any way.

Sorry!

B#
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Designed air defence radar for the Baghdade civil defense committee.

Billy Basic
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Jazz pianist.
Architect.

fool for python
Saturday, April 05, 2003

concert pianist

rexguo
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Another kind of engineer...

Murph
Saturday, April 05, 2003

I'd be Fred Garvin, male prostitute

Mike
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Engineer (Mechanical or Electrical)

Cletus
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Bill Gates

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, April 05, 2003

nanotech researcher

andrewm
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Indie rock star - 5 guys band - I wrote all the songs, play the lead guitar, become sort of informal "music director" to the band, and keep quiet, let the vocalist who is more extrovert than me become the focus of media attention. For a rock star I will be a good family-man, with a beautiful and educated wife, and lead a quite ascetic and religious life.

cooldev
Saturday, April 05, 2003

writer

ubaid
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Classical clarinetist.

Lauren B.
Saturday, April 05, 2003

I would probably be a Mathematician or some kind of writer. I am studying to become an Electrical Engineer, but Elec. Engineers usually do some kind of programming as well. I also considered being a Bible researcher when I was in high school. Naturally, however, there's much more need for programmers than for Bible researchers.

My friend once gave me a career apptitude test, and at
its end my friend told me I was not suitable for being a Mathematician or a Programmer, and that Bible Research would be the best job for me. Then I started programming for a living, and was actually quite good at it. I also enjoy programming very much.

Math is fun, but I don't like the fact, that you are often stuck in a deep though mode, where you have no idea how to advance further. And then after a long time, I come with a nice elegant way, and I'm amazed by its cleverness. In programming, you usually know what to do in the first place, and don't need to rely on too much inspiration. In the worst case scenario, you can do a little research and discover if someone found an efficient algorithm or if the problem is NP-complete or whatever.

Knuth claimed that "Programming was the hardest thing I've ever done". If you ask me, math is much harder.

Shlomi Fish
Sunday, April 06, 2003

civil engineer. But my life would be worse.

Ros
Sunday, April 06, 2003

ruler of the world

John Rosenberg
Sunday, April 06, 2003

I already WAS a teacher for 31 years!  I retired to try programming and I like it a lot.  If I had to move on, I would like to be a meteorologist, but I'm too old, so it's in the category where others put "rock star".  Programming IS my "next" job.

Barry Sperling
Sunday, April 06, 2003

Ski patrol.  Bicycle tour guide.

It could happen.

Nat Ersoz
Sunday, April 06, 2003

Assuming talent were no barrier...

Ski teacher
Carpenter


Monday, April 07, 2003

Own a wargames publishing company.

Katie Lucas
Monday, April 07, 2003

<wargames>

I wonder who owns SPI's back catalogue now...

Simon Lucy
Monday, April 07, 2003

Jesus. I remember SPI. Are they dead now then? Was Snapshot one of theirs?


Monday, April 07, 2003

Professional Boxer.

Norrick
Monday, April 07, 2003

When I grow up and get over this computer stuff I'd like to be a meteorologist.

apw
Monday, April 07, 2003

Movie director.

Some years after finishing college and being in this field for a while, I realized that at 19 you are in no good position to find out what you really want to do. Right then, I wanted a good profession that gave enough money. And I didn't hate computers.

A year ago I looked around and realized: I'm in one of the most boring unglamorous professions that exist (when meeting a new girl, I try to delay the moment when I tell her what I do for a living as much as possible - think Hugh Grant in "About a Boy" telling what's her name that he doesn't do anything for a living). I go to work and 90% of the people are men. The typical life that is expected from someone like me is to slowly advance through an engineer carrer, get wife/house/kids, and on the weekends wash his family sedan. I hate family sedans. The free time I would get if I worked in a real company would be enough for being brainwashed by CNN when I get home and then go to sleep (and washing the car on Sundays). If I talk to a company that would be interested in hiring me and mention my "three-months-summer-off" policy, they get really confused and think I must be joking. And I don't find it amusing.

Think about being a director. My impression of it is this (I may be mistaken, I may be underestimating the difficulties, and I may be overestimating the good stuff, but bear with me): If you are just mediocre, you are probably going to do commercials. Plenty of money, plenty of free time (average 5 months per year work, and full pay, the case of a friend of mine). You go to work, and work daily, not with computer geeks, but with the hottest models locally available. Sixteen-year-old girls that look like in the dreams you are afraid to have look at you with awe (and maybe, later, some shock) and blush, or smile in ways they shouldn't know how to at that age, if you look back. If you are lucky to break through and make a name, then you make shitloads of money with even less working. And the girls are even hotter. Besides, if you talk to some new people (well, mostly of opposite sex, usually the ones of the same sex will just hate you) and mention that you are a movie director, no matter how unknown, you are in the same position as if you would have parked a shiny new 911 in front of the bar. Only without the accompanying "how immature".

Having drawn this conclusion, I have started to look on ways to become a director and I am trying to explore them now. But I cannot tell you how much easier it would have been if I would have done this from the beginning. I hope I will manage to become one anyway, even though the standard ways are now less accessible.

Dimitri.
Monday, April 07, 2003

pilot would be cool :-)

Patrik
Monday, April 07, 2003

bicycle mechanic.  I'd do it too if the pay was anywhere close to what I'm making now. 

big bob
Monday, April 07, 2003

Most likely (historical reasons): Jazz Saxiphonist/Clarinetist
Current fantasy: Bar Tender for an Exotic Island Resort
Alternative fantasy: Professional Superbike Racer

Heston Holtmann
Monday, April 07, 2003

"I go to work and 90% of the people are men"

And they usually can't hold a conversation about anything other than star trek or anime.

I've just realized how pitiful my existence truly is
Monday, April 07, 2003

Heston - have you seen The Office (British TV comedy)? See "Too good to miss out" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theoffice/epguide/series1_ep4.shtml And those few lines were exactly what your post brought to my mind. Thanks for cheering up what was otherwise a really sh*tty day :-)

Come friendly bombs...
Monday, April 07, 2003

heston, a friend of mine just left IT to become a bar tender. i think he's actually making almost as much money as he was in IT. (granted, he wasn't in a very good region for IT salaries...but apparently in a good region for alcoholism...)

choppy
Monday, April 07, 2003

happy

juan carlos rodriguez
Monday, April 07, 2003

A Banana Split

Chris McEvoy
Monday, April 07, 2003

Good grief! How many people are there on this site who used to play SPI games? I even have a few of them left. Anyone want to buy?

David Clayworth
Monday, April 07, 2003

SPI was bought out by TSR, which was bought out by Wizards of the Coast, which was bought out by Hasbro.

So Hasbro now owns the SPI backlist. Kinda odd, that.

Chris Tavares
Monday, April 07, 2003

Hmmm, do not tell me you want to sell any, I will not listen.

I don't want to get rid of any Perfidious Albion issues either.

Simon Lucy
Monday, April 07, 2003

Katie, if you published wargames now you couldn't do it with cardboard counters. You'd have to, errm, computerize them.

Sometimes there's just no escaping the darn things.

David Clayworth
Monday, April 07, 2003

A theologian

Dave Bryant
Monday, April 07, 2003

My first bachelors degree is in Playwriting. I'd kind of like to write plays (and screenplays).

Also, if I had the spare time, between all the scripts I'd be writing, I'd like to work on a novel or two.

Benji Smith
Monday, April 07, 2003

Computerizing - Oh, I have no issue with using a computer to, for example, write rules sets on. As long as I get to use a proper toolset. Emacs and LaTeX...

{It's not actually the programming that I have an issue with, it's the rampant stupidty in the industry. The only creative thing in the IT industry is dreaming up the excuses not to use better tools and have an easier life.}

Actually, the last few rules sets were composed using a Wiki, because it meant even less time faffing with the markup, and you can hypertext them easily, which is neat.

We're currently debugging a set of fantasy combat rules. {For debugging read: painting figures to playtest them with more units...}

Katie Lucas
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Some people who read this site are not developers.

I'm not, for example.  I'm a technical writer.

If I were neither a developer or a technical writer, I'd be a fiction writer.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

hmmm intersting that not one person except me wanted anything to do with sales, I must be a freak.

Daniel Shchyokin
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Benevolent dictator of a small beautiful island, occupied by beautiful people and things, rainforest, rivers, mountains, snow on the west coast, and on the east coast sandy surf beaches and calm waters where the kiddies can swim. There'd always be a slight zephyr blowing, scented with a whiff of fragipanni or jasmine, and occassionally that coconut scented sunscreen. I'd just kind of strutt around helping people with any problems and giving wise advice on any sort of issues they may have. My subjects would adore me. I'd be kind, wise and generous.
I'd eat a lot of seafood.

Realist
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Monk

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I am already not a developer.

tapiwa
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Actuary

halpgr
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Interesting how no one talks abt being in HR:-)

Prakash S
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I'm in HR (kinda).... don't bother! ;o)

I'd be a professional musician.

Greg Harvey
Thursday, April 10, 2003

Roadie - came close too,  but programming is more challenging intellectually and I knew several 30-40 year old roadies who were very tired of being on the road and couldn't figure out how to escape.

Peter Ibbotson
Friday, April 11, 2003

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