It's refreshing to know that there are so many programmers who code because the actually like it! Previously, I was under the impression that most programmers decided to become coders for different (more pragmatic) reasons (like money).
I am curious though, is it still possible that a large number (majority?) of programmers don't program because they enjoy it -- and they don't visit sites like this because they aren't interested?
I don't think you'd last long in the field if you didn't enjoy it.
Of course, it depends what you mean by programming. I don't think writing device drivers, diddling with OS kernels, real-time software, writing image processing SDKs or server side web components is something people would do just because it pays. You won't survive if you don't eat, sleep and breathe this stuff.
Just my opinion...
"There is always one more bug..."
Well I must have missed something along the way. I already knew I was inadept, unclean, unshaven with long hair & haven't solved the worlds problems since the Z80 turned up.. However the problem is the thing (although the money would be nice!!)& a few girls who appreciated it......
Sorry to shatter your illusions but us coders are generally regarded as nerds, socially inadept, unclean, unshaven with long hair/earrings. People further think we live on coke and pizza, and they wrongly expect us to be the cureall of all problems. This is the stereotypical image-there may be exceptions :
Then you must be working for the wrong company! Nothing trips the registers of a babe than dropping a line about "being a developer for so-and-so dotcom" - the lure of money is the biggest aphrodisiac known to man (not that will get any, but don't let them know that!). Lead with your strengths, dude, and rise above your own self image
Yes, it's quite true. But it isn't considered good form to discuss it in public. I'm really miffed at Eli for revealing this in a public forum because there are still a few programmers, mostly here in the US and Canada, who have never looked up from their terminals and realized what hot numbers they are. Now they're going to feel like they're geeks or nerds because they aren't being propositioned hourly like more insightful programmers. (You folks in France, Australia and India know what I'm talking about) How will they ever get their projects finished now?
We have worked earnestly for years to keep the legend of our sex appeal on the Q.T. but now Eli has let it out, and we may need to go back to working as Rock Stars just to get some rest.
I think you'll find that just about everybody's answer to this question will be "Not enough". The question is...are you happy enough to take what you get and stay where you are, or are you unhappy enough to look elsewhere.
I'm in a situation where I think I make "OK" money given what I do and for how long I've been doing it. Given the fact that I live in a pretty small community (albeit for a large computer company), there isn't really much option for me to look elsewhere in the community for a similar job. Although my salary might be considered ridiculously small in an area like San Jose or Austin or Raleigh, in this area, it's not half-bad, and I'm happy enough with where I am to take it - even knowing I could get better elsewhere.
Me? I'm happy enough being the big fish in the small pond...and who can argue with a 5 minute commute to work
Don't know about your part of the world but in Dallas web developers are a dime a dozen.
(Didn't say if they were any good; just a lot of them ). I am in the C,C++, Assembler crowd and
there are not a great deal of us to go around so we usually get top dollar. A friend of mine just started
a new job and he is getting $85.00 per hour plus overtime plus bonus money for weekend work. His
forte is Database and C++. I make in that neighboorhood without all the perks he gets. Not to
mention that one has to have to have some profiency in HTML, Java, and whatever else is the latest buzzword
of the week.
All the talk about money though has to filter in the fact that you have to spend at least 10-12 hours
a week just keeping current and if you wish to improve your skill base even more. I somtimes find that
I am spending 20 or more unpaid hours a week on continuing education. Not to mention the expense of
books and seminars ( most are NOT paid by employers ).
I am a recent graduate c++ programmer, and I believe my pay
is above that of most other grad programmers with different skills,
(ie Visual Basic, Delphi).
I think it depends largely upon the *kind* of web developer.
Some ppl with skills in java, etc (which is not strictly a web
development language), would call themselves web developers.
These ppl can make quite good money.
However html, (java script, etc) usually require less training,
and a lower skill level usually means less money
I'd like to precise I'm french so in France itself we aren't
as wired as in Austin for instance. But I heard that rich american ppl has no complex telling how much money they earn. It's supposed to be social and historical behavior;
I'm surprised that most of you seems to hide this like a secret. An average web developer get not much than US$8/hrs
in a startup here. With success, things can getting up fast but it's not something as strong as it seems to be in US.
I know things are different everywhere, but $8/hr is daylight robbery, even in France.
I pull in about between $100-$150/hr for Database/VB/C++ stuff (and then some), not counting the odd jobs I do for people. I operate all over Europe. The difference is that I'm not an employee.
There is a huge world shortage. My experience is that the press tries to hide this and supress what guys like us should really be earning. Negociation is the key. Start high and come down. Have a diverse skillset. Don't have religious convictions about Microsoft/Sun/IBM/Inprise/Apple, but make logical decisions about what your market is and can support. You have to be part entrepreneur and make business decisions. If you see that you are charging more than the next guy, but the client seems happy, keep it that way. If you can't get a job at that price, lower it.
Above all, if you have the guts and the skill, work as an independent consultant and go where the need is greatest.
Guys like us OWN this decade. Big and small companies NEED us to survive. Don't sell youself off short. This will probably only last another 10-15 years. I will retire before then......
I'm french too, and I'm not really sure of your estimation.
* First, how could we calculate the salary by hour, when we are mainly engineers, so without hours limitation. I would rather speak of a salary for a year. Generally, with a little experience, the average salary of a developper is about 200.000 F/year , that is approximativly 27,000$/year.
* And second, are web developpers real developpers ?
You are supposed to be paid for an hour, whatever kind of work schedule you have. In my startup, no one employee is engineer: we are technicians, and we code PHP, C++, DB, and
whatever it is necessary to code. We don't earn as much as you, that's sure, but I'm not sure you work as strong as us (especially if you're an IBM "engineer" of some sort)!
* And second, are web developpers real developpers ?
Before I became a programmer, I tried hard to study film, write screenplays, etc. It's cool, but you always depend on somebodies mood. In this business it's vital that everybody likes you. I couldn't stand it and left.
Programming gives you creative freedom and clearly evaluatable results.
I like programming because it gives me something to do at nights and on weekends instead of having to hang out with the opposite sex. For instance, last Saturday night, while most people were out on dates, I was learning how the #import statement works. Sure, people who can interact with others on a social level have fun -- but you know what? #import is really fun too -- and I don't even have to leave my computer.... When I feel lonely, I like to recite (out loud) each member variable of the WNDCLASS struct.
I have an IUnknown lolli-pop diagram tatooed on my left hand. One time I was at a restaraunt and the waiter saw the tatoo and handed me a cheeseburger and he goes "hey, if you don't like the burger you can QueryInterface() for some fries and a coke." That was funny. I chuckled about that for hours. Then I went home.
I have a funny joke that I'd like to tell you about this polish guy who tried to marshal a connectionless _Recordset interface across a process boundary -- but I'm running out of space so you'll have to wait until next time. I don't want to give away the punch line -- but the jist of the joke is that DCOM isn't naitvely supported on Win95. You need the DCOM95.exe patch... It doesn't sound funny the way I tell it, but believe me -- it's hillarious!! OK, I'll catch you guys later.
For those who enjoy creating, it offers an almost instantly realizable locus from conceptual thought to physical embodiment, thanks to a CPU, the wonders of persistent storage and the almost miraculous process of transforming a natural language like statement into moving electrons.
Next to mathematics, it is also perhaps the most humbling of all sciences, where we are often made fools of by the very we tools we created, when they expose the fallacy of our logic.
Above all, programming is truth - that transcends culture, language, gender, ethnic origin, location, age and physical disability.
"There is always one more bug..."
Well spoken (typed?). I was trying to explain to a friend the high you can get from crafting something and have it appear, fully functioning, fully alive on the screen in front of you. It is such a bizarre amalgam of logic, creativity and engineering, with instant gratification
>>> What do you mean with "instant gratification" ?
Instant gratification in programming could be from,
Spending a week writing/designing a large class,
That first time compiles links, without any errors,
Then runs without crashing the system and without any logical errors and does what it is supposed to do.
The Gratification is as it dawns on you that you have finished that segment of your project. And you don't have to think about the silly CGooblygook for another year.
After spending a year creating a shareware app which when you release it somebody purchases the first copy of your new project, and then sends you a thank you note.
The Gratification is in knowing that the Algorythm you solved was of some use to somebody else, not just interesting to you.
Having spent the day with your accountant, Investment Manager and broker you hop in your shiny imported sports car, and whiz of to a top waterfront location to have drinks on your yacht with several stunning members of the opposite sex.
The Gratification is in your self acknowledgement that you to can put results of your work to good use
Well, I agree with you. But I was just trying to be foolish. With the "instant gratification" quote I meant an innuendo to "self gratification", like in replace the company of the opposite sex with a computer... yeah, stupid! I was just having fun..
I think by "instant gratification" he meant the fact that you can quickly see the result of your efforts on the screen and say to yourself, "Yeah baby, this is looking good!". This is most evident when you're working on GUI application with a RAD tool like VB. You put in a few minutes/hours of effort and almost immediately you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
... of course this is on a good day. On a bad day you get to curse at the screen and wonder how in the world they could have hired you...
Programming is, by turns, the most rewarding profession, the most frustrating profession, the greatest high, the lowest low, the easiest job in the world, the most difficult job in the world, the easiest to explain, the most difficult to explain, a job in which you are always learning, and a job in which you are always teaching...well, you get the drift.
At the tender age of 15, in 1969, I wrote my first program (in FORTRAN on an IBM mainframe), and I knew from the first moment that I had found what I wanted to do. I have since held almost every job title that exists in this field, but I never stopped writing code, and I've even managed to come full circle and go back to developing code full time.
It's been over thirty years, and probably as many programming languages. I still love it today as much as I did when I was 15. I am still learning something new every day, and I still get blown away when I see someone pushing a collection of electrons that I created from nothing -- just my own ideas, lots of blood, not enough sleep, too many jolts of caffeine, and too many frustrating discussions with users.
Here's to the little child in every programmer, and to hell with anyone who can't understand why our hobby is the same as our job
I could not have said it better. I would not have said it better. Your post actually got me to re-enable active desktop so that I could display your quote together with a picture of a gaily dressed mental patient in a Mardi Gras parade in Rio that previously was my background.
I hope that came across the way I intended, Ravi...
This topic is a tricky one in that there isn't a single answer to this question for most people. Still - it's a question I've been asked by heaps of people looking to change careers, and also by friends asking what it is that can keep someone at their desk for so many hours a week
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