I was listening a This Developers Life podcast, as I usually do when I’m traveling – titled ‘Disconnecting‘ (if you haven’t listened to any of these podcasts, I highly recommend it). The podcast was about how some developers, namely the two hosts, have a difficult time unplugging themselves from their work life. In retrospect, I think most of us nowadays are cursed with this problem. Any who, during the podcast, Scott Hanselman made a comment about being addicted to change that really through me for a loop. I had to pause the podcast for a second so that I could process what had just been said.
We as developers live in a world that never stops moving forward. It’s entirely possible to go sleep on Tuesday, and wake up to a new technology on Wednesday morning. In fact, it happens all the time. I mean, if you missed the very first iPhone event in 2007 – boy, were you in for a shocker the next morning.
As soon as Scott said that, I realized something profound about myself: I love change. I don’t know how many other developers this applies to, but gosh did it ever apply to me. Let me explain this further.
I read non-fiction books in an attempt to change my worldview. I check websites almost constantly in hope of new information. I tend to learn a new technology almost every month without fail. I have a very hard time making it all the way through personal projects, because I get bored with them. Heck, I’m always doing something new. Monotony never sat well with me, and I don’t think it ever will.
Moving closer to the crux of my point, I found myself taking a good look at why I enjoy software development, outside of the standard reasons. Back in my younger days, I was looking towards orthopedic surgery as a career path. When I learned that surgeons become specialized and then routinely do the same procedures over and over again – the profession lost its appeal to me almost immediately.
When I first entered the field of software, I used to dread knowing that everyday at work, I would have to learn something new. For some reason, the unknown cause me to feel under-prepared and maybe even a touch scared. But now, after so many years, I realize it’s this dynamic environment where I personally really find joy. I love being able to learn new things and its this change that keeps me interested. More so, we software engineers are not stuck on an island where we are slaves to our field. We’re novelists in a sense, and we can write any story we want. Programming is just a means to write that story.
If I’m interested in particle dynamics, I could load up a canvas tag up on a webpage and go crazy doing all sorts of cool particle simulations. If I want know learn about machine learning, I can open a python file and dive right in within seconds of a Google search. Everything is just a few seconds away, and almost everything can be crafted in code. Programming is agile.
Although computers were why I jumped into software development, it was most definitely the change factor that kept me interested. Software enables us to create anything we can possibly dream up, and then share those dreams with the world.
Like Scott Hanselman, I am definitely addicted to change. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something else to dive into. Cheers!