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why bother being a coder

You'll never get to run the business,  and even if you run your own, you need experience in sales and marketing.

The jobs are slowly disappearing job (in the US at least) and businessmen always win, no matter what.

The Joel Spolsky's of the world will run your work life, anyway.    And really who cares if you write yet another software tool amongst the thousands out there.

Lacking an original idea to market for yourself, why be a coder? 

(don't forget to vote for Bush)

whyBother
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

For the pay.

(Remember to vote for Kerry).

Jim
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Because it's the only thing some of us can do. And we're too lazy to learn new tricks.

Ogami Itto
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Why bother being alive? You're just a dust speck among more than 6 billion animals of the same species. So stop wasting the earth's resources, as you'll probably never achieve anything of importance anyway.

Vladimir Gritsenko
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

You're right, I would never want to be just a coder.  However, a *developer* has skills that include coding, but could include any of the following: designing, requirements gathering, project management, testing, communication, etc., etc.

And who says developers can't learn business?  Some of the best and most successful people I know have both business *and* techincal skills.

A Programmer
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

>> The Joel Spolsky's of the world will run your work life, anyway. 

Jeez, the average programmer should have it so good. Try being whipsawed by sales types or Type A owners who hate the software process and just want you to booger things together. Or for REAL fun try working for companies managed by ex-capital goods manufacturing executives who see everyone under them as a factory worker.

I'd much rather work (as an employee) for one of my own kind than someone who is ignorant of this field who just wants to push a button on the "code monkey" and get a result...

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

(Remember to vote for Nader)

A Programmer
Tuesday, August 31, 2004


remember to vote for hitler

salad cream
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ok, someone mentioned Hitler.  The thread is officially over.

EHBudd
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

---Why bother being alive? You're just a dust speck among more than 6 billion animals of the same species. So stop wasting the earth's resources, as you'll probably never achieve anything of importance anyway.---


And what earth-shaking achievements have you? 

Coders, even developers, do nothing for the long run.  The best ideas get nowhere without a savvy marketeer, period.

Sure, the people who build the stuff have a part, but really now, they are just as good as say, the many casualties that built the Empire State building.

The sad part about being  the actual writer of the software is that you will be forgotten, no one will care what you did.

Some of you will get personal satisfaction, but all your brain power is wasted. 

whyBother
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Remember to vote for salad cream.

Wisedude
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"And what earth-shaking achievements have you?"

At the moment, none, as I'm a mere newbie. This is irrelevant, though. I have a future. What's your excuse?

"Coders, even developers, do nothing for the long run.  The best ideas get nowhere without a savvy marketeer, period."

Yeah. That Guido fellow? He must've had a gazillion dollars as a marketing budget, didn't he?

"The sad part about being  the actual writer of the software is that you will be forgotten, no one will care what you did."

As opposed to doing... what, exactly? Most scientists, for example, even the good ones among them, never achieve popularity among the laymen, even if their efforts saved said laymen's asses and elevated their standards of living. Same goes for every politician, every businessman, every doctor, every human being.

"Some of you will get personal satisfaction, but all your brain power is wasted. "

Your problem is some kind of star disease. It's not depressing at all, most of the time, and working for the Joels of the world is way better than doing a lot of other things, including popularity for trivial acomplishments. Maybe your success yardstick is recognition, but mine is real achievement and satisfaction. All kinds of creativity-supressing asses exist in this world, both in coding and otherwise. Coding isn't different from other endavours in those respects.

Vladimir Gritsenko
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Because I really enjoy it?

I work for a really wonderful company who's product I use and admire, and the thought of my own work being a part of that is inspiring in itself.

Then there's the money...

(P.S. for those who contend that an idea needs great marketing to get off the ground, I suggest you listen to The Free Software Song by RMS, and then go admire GCC. You'll soon see the error of your ways ;)

gd
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

My nipples act as fulcrums for the magnetic field surrounding the Earth.  Without me you're all doomed.

muppet
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

If there were a way in this life of guaranteeing, beyond murder, never hearing RMS sing that song again I would take with alacrity and give it away to the world for free.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

[remember, why bother voting...]

steve-o
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Simon -

Well, jamming needles into your eardrums might guarantee never hearing the song.  A bit painful, maybe, but it's not murder.

:)

Aaron F Stanton
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

What should we be doing instead? Posting cynical, self-defeatist threads in JoS?

Guess what, I like my job, and without programmers, this board, the internet, your computer software, and probably most of the things you hold dear wouldn't exist. 

I enjoy my life.  If you don't, maybe YOU should change, not all of us.

devinmoore.com
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

>> The best ideas get nowhere without a savvy marketeer.

And the savvy marketeer gets nowehere without your best ideas. No man is an island.

Alex
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

No man is an island, but life is a highway, and I'm gonna ride it, all night long.

muppet
Tuesday, August 31, 2004


In a past life, I knew a guy who was a low level machine operator. He worked on drill presses pretty much his whole career. He'd take the part, put it under the drill, pull the handle, throw the part on a bin, repeat several thousand times a day. It was totally mindnumbing. I couldn't do it for an hour without going bonkers. He loved it.

Now, this guy was not stupid, nor was he a boring twit. He simply had no ambition and didn't want to think. He did an honest days work for an honest days pay. Simple as that.

This past weekend we're eating at a local diner and my daughter sees a guy clearing tables and notes he's been doing this for as long as she can remember. She wondered why hasn't he risen above busing tables in 15 years?

Who knows? If he's doing it either he has no desire or no ability to rise to the next level.

If you like to write code, write code. if you don't, then quite and do something else. If you have higher ambitions, concentrate on what it takes to rise above it.

old_timer
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I often wondered how some people who seem to be very intelligent, interesting, and fun could spend their days doing mundane tasks, then I read this book:     
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  ( amazon  http://tinyurl.com/6cfmd )  its a tough book to get throught but some very interesting observations.

    

moseswhitecotton
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

You called the 'flow' book tough? It's quite an easy reading in my opinion.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I bother to be a coder so I can spend my time on these type of forums.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I thought the first 4 or so chapters of Flow were the important once. Everything else kinda dragged and rehashed the same information.

Ironically, I didn't experience a flow state while reading Flow, but I'd still recommend it, for the first half dozen chapters anyway.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I'd happily work for Joel as opposed to 90% of the bosses I've seen/met out there.

KC
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Lacking an original idea? Vote for Bush.

I agree we should outsource all such people. :-)

ross
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I work for myself and I am a coder at the core;

No problem being business savvy BTW.

Since I've got most of what I want (nice place to live, wife, car, good machines to play with) and 6 months of cash in the bank in case of trouble, life is fine.

My job will be removed ? Yeah, I just work on a  $15 Mios project as advisor... Climb up the food chain. But being a developer helps a lot in being credible.

And partner with the enemy if you cannot beat them. (Large indian company, signed a deal of 800 mandays for an account they now work for).

So, fuck the naysayers & remember what Heinz said:

"Success is doing common things uncommonly well"

... there is a wide gap between awareness & skill.

Bring them on !

RedFox
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

So you become the enemy rather than outsmarting them.

Yeah, that's a score for coders.

whyBother
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

> Lacking an original idea? Vote for Bush. I agree we should outsource all such people. :-)

Yes: get yourselves a nice, Dutch parliament instead.

.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Shouldn't feed the troll but its the end of boring day soe WTF:

First you say:
>>Lacking an original idea to market for yourself, why be a coder?

But than when RedFox says that he is a coder who is succesfully marketing for himself, you say:
>>So you become the enemy rather than outsmarting them.

If your going to troll at least re-read what you previously posted...

Sounds to me like someone is feeling inadequate and is looking to blame others instead of doing something to make a real change.

Honu
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The "typical" coder position is anti-establishment.  I was merely pointing out that people who consider themselves "real" coders would never "sell out".

Which proves my point, actually.  In order to win the game, you eschew that which made you a great coder in the first place.


No, being a manager or sales or marketing type doesn't necessarily make you anti-coder, necessarily, but many would debate this point.

The game is rigged, you decide whether you want to be a cog in the wheel or be the one calling the shots.  No matter how you slice it, unless you become the hateful enemy, your brainpower is being used for other people's monetary gain while you get little.

whyBother
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A "rigged game", eh?

In this game, it's trivial to dictate your own terms, and choose your own lifestyle, be it corporate, freelancing, ISV-ing or OSS development.


There's a saying in Russian - "плохому танцору яйца мешают" - freely translated (by yours truly) as "a bad dancer always complains about his balls".

Vladimir Gritsenko
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

AH! What's up with the borked displaying! D-:

Vladimir Gritsenko
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

You have a strange idea about the relationship between businesspeople and software people.  Yes, in a certain sense you're a tool for somebody else's ambition -- they use your talent to get what you want.  But that's the nature of cooperation and the working world.  You are also supposed to use them as a tool to get what you want.  This is a "cynical" way of describing a perfectly harmless thing.  The work world is not zero-sum.

It's very important that you build a good relationship with the businesspeople or managers in your organization.  Either they're sensible people, in which case they'll be more than happy to negotiate with you to make sure that you're both winning something from your deal, or they're unreasonable people and they'll use fear and intimidation to get what they want out of you.  Think about the fate of nations.  What kind of nations thrive?  Which ones fail?  Help build an organization like the nation that you want to live in.

Kalani
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"... somebody else's ambition -- they use your talent to get what you want"

should be

"... somebody else's ambition -- they use your talent to get what they want"

Kalani
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

But what if you're an individualist and an anti-nationalist?

Vladimir Gritsenko
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

> The "typical" coder position is anti-establishment. 
> I was merely pointing out that people who consider
> themselves "real" coders would never "sell out".
> ... hated enemy... blah blah blah ...

Oh, grow up.

The "hated enemy" is our gravy train, kid. And we're his.

If nobody sells the product, nobody buys it, and nobody gets paid. I've worked with a lot of developers who understood that, and with a lot of sales, marketing, and management people who understood the corollary: If there's no product, or if the product is hopelessly bad, they've got nothing to sell and nobody gets paid then, either. There are dysfunctional companies out there, but there are good ones, too.

As an adult, you have to work with people who aren't exactly like you. You *can* learn to do that, and if you've got a halfway open mind, it's fun. Who the hell wants to look in a mirror all day, every day, for his entire life? Teenagers do, of course, but most of them grow out of it.

Last of all, the best managers I've worked for have been former programmers who got interested in management. It turns out that management, like programming, can be interesting and fun if you care about doing it well. Management, like programming or anything else worth doing, is the art (or craft, or filthy habit) of solving problems as well and as cheaply as possible, and many of those problems turn out to be interesting. A good manager can make his team's lives better and make the product better at the same time; the two are not necessarily unrelated. That way, everybody has more fun and makes more money. Fun is good. Good products are better. Money is best of all.

If you're a galley slave writing stupid DB frontends at a bank, I don't suppose your life will be worth living anyway... but that's an edge case. If you do happen to be in that kind of trap, work on your resume. Find or invent excuses to do more technically interesting stuff at your job (you can *always* do that, believe me). Take on contract work doing more serious stuff than whatever VB misery they're paying you for. Put all those good things on your resume, and go find a better job.

Across the board: Be persistent and aggressive. Pull your head out of your ass and quit feeling sorry for yourself. Find what you want and get it. If you're just bitching because nobody's coming by to hand you paradise on a plate for free, you deserve to suffer. So what if the job market's bad? Do you have anything BETTER to do than work for a better job? How many nights a week can you stumble home and masturbate in front of the same "Laverne and Shirley" rerun for five hours?

Aarrgghh
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

four more years...

time to immigrate.

jdm
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"How many nights a week can you stumble home and masturbate in front of the same "Laverne and Shirley" rerun for five hours?"

Actually, I do my self-stimulation in front of Law and Order SVU reruns.

whyBother
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

whyBother, who is it on that show that does it for you? The original, blond D.A.? Or her successor, the redhead? Or is it Detective Benson?

-
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

" four more years...

... time to immigrate."

They'd fail you on the language test any place you wanted to go. Are you arriving or fleeing?

trollop
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"Actually, I do my self-stimulation in front of Law and Order SVU reruns."

Can't even get proper porn, eh?

Pathetic.

Vladimir Gritsenko
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

They are not the enemy, some of them are pretty great and kick ass.

Okay, they are millions and this gives a sizeable chunk of crappy ones.

It's just that american people are less numerous and the chunk of crap is smaller in absolute terms. I am not that sure about the relative terms.

The largest & cheapest pool will get the money.
We all have brains & w/ motivation the big number will learn enough to wipe the smaller crowd out of the surface.

Still, there will be interesting things in your local market.

As a sidenote, get a shot @ using RAC or eLance. When provided with a clear spec and a base architecture, they will produce good results for cheap. Okay you'll have to do some QA but much less that you would have to do on your own. Come to realize it, there is just a given quantity of work that someone can do per day, no matter how smart he/she is.

And as for not being a coder, meet you at a demoparty so that I can blow your mind w/ some funky code.

And I want the money so that I can have some freetime (target is 50% of daytime) for my little hobbies. So far, it works.

RedFox
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"The Joel Spolsky's of the world will run your work life".

God, what an awful prospect.

I love coding because it is creative. I was never any good at art or music or anything, but I think creating solutions out of tiny bits (mind the pun) is pretty amazing sometimes.

Nemesis
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"The Joel Spolsky's of the world will run your work life".

Having been reading Joel's writing for years, and having visited the Fog Creek offices in person, I personally would consider working for Fog Creek to be a career high point.

(back to my noisy soulless cube farm in an ugly soulless neighborhood working for a massive soulless organization)

- former car owner in Queens
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

>>You'll never get to run the business,  and even if you run your own, you need experience in sales and marketing.

if you wanted to run the business, why did you become a coder to begin with?

and if you run your own, you can actually hire people for sales and marketing... cool concept, huh?

Kenny
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"How many nights a week can you stumble home and masturbate in front of the same "Laverne and Shirley" rerun for five hours?"

I believe the answer is 7.

Squiggy
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

They give ya money, and the girls, and the fame.
I only do it for the fun.. That's my game.

ronk! (a Korn fan)
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Because I like coding.

whatAConcept
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

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