4 comments on “Where do I go from here?

  1. As software developers, we have the opportunity to find almost any area which interests us, and apply our skill sets to it.

    To quote Bret Victor, whose talk “Inventing on Principle” made somewhat of an impact on me personally:
    “As a technologist you can recognize the wrong in the world. You can have a vision for what a better world could be, and you can dedicate yourself to fighting for a principle. Social activists typically fight by organizing, but you can fight by inventing.” – Bret Victor

    What is the purpose of continuously learning new technologies when using them doesn’t give you any satisfaction? Find a ‘problem domain’ which truly interests you, and see how you can apply technology to it. If that involves learning new technologies, great, but if it involves the most simplistic approach imaginable, it most likely will still be more fulfilling than using some latest modern technology and working on something you don’t believe in.

    Expertise and recognition only gets you so far … what you do with it is the interesting question.

  2. I too, find it difficult to code in the morning, but you know still makes me want to get out of bed is to fix problems. To figure them out. The rest is just noise. Its time for you to put on the ole CTO hat and make it big :).

  3. Was meaning to write a few days ago…

    Been there. This sounds all too familiar. I realized that a lot of it had to do with whatever else was happening in my life. I had lost that childhood wonder of programming. So I started reading a lot of books about the days in the late 70s / early 80s when I first got into it, and it triggered a lot of memories and feelings about when I was excited about it. Granted, I got into it at the time when having your own personal computer was new for everyone (TRS-80, Apple II, Atari 400 / 800, etc.), so it was a very exciting time for people like us. So reading books about that time period (Hackers, Revolution in the Valley, even some old TRS-80 Assembly programming books) brought back how I felt about programming. Watching documentaries and movies about that time period (like Pirates of Silicon Valley) also reminded me of my mindset back then.

    Now I get excited again about new platforms and tools (AngularJS, game programming in iOS), but I have to often force myself to get into the flow I used to have more of when I was younger. Going to code camps also gets my juices flowing again. Small victories are important for recapturing that feeling, and sometimes I can ride it for a time, until life gets in the way again. It does get harder and harder to escape the limbo when it happens, but these things remind me that the drive is still there. Just buried. Life gets a lot more complicated as we grow, so it’s harder to get excited about the things we used to love. But I really believe it’s still there… just constantly clouded by the other life challenges. I’m still trying to figure it all out.

    I also started thinking about changing careers (back when I had been in management for a few years, and my soul was *really* dying), but then I realized that no matter what else I’d do, I’d never enjoy anything else as much as programming. So I re-focused and decided to get out of management back into consulting. For a while, I was happier in my career than I was for decades. I still am, but it’s still hard to retain that enthusiasm for the long stretches I had when I first got into this field. But, again, at risk of repeating myself, I think the real issue is not a lost enthusiasm for programming — it’s everything in life that happens in between. It could very well be due to depression (which I’ve struggled with myself for years).

    Sorry for rambling on. Your post just happened to strike a nerve, and out flowed my stream of consciousness ;-)

  4. I personally believe that my career is achieved when I reach the Singularity point in my income. That means when I get to a point where I don’t need to work anymore to pay for my regular living, and that happens when I create something that works for me like a clock. Whether it be a company or a product, service, trading strategy, or anything that would pay for itself and to me, and which grows. That is when I can consider my career as achieved but that wouldn’t be the end of my goals in life. That is in fact when I can seriously dedicate myself to other things that I really want to do, or changes that I wish to make in the world.

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