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On being more than just a developer

Dzhavat Ushev
Front-end developer trying to make useful stuff.
Originally published at dzhavat.github.io Updated on ・3 min read

This post was originally published on my blog.


I work as a developer. I have side projects, contribute to open source and maintain websites where I act as a developer. I’ve been doing this for several years now and love every part of it. You can almost say that I’m a developer.

But even though being a developer is a big part of my life and I spend much of my day as one, I’ve realized that I’m more than just a developer!

I came to this important realization not long ago. I was already aware of this as a fact, of course, but never gave it a deeper thought. I’ve been so focused on the details that I’ve somehow missed the bigger picture.

Put another way, being a developer is only a part of who I am.

Some of the other things I am are, but not limited to, a runner, a nature lover, a traveler, a dad, a husband, a friend... So why was I going around looking at the world through only one set of lenses or assumed only one role? As if I had all these other roles and responsibilities but I was rushing through them just so I can come back my “true” self.

I’m not really sure why it took me so long to come to this conclusion. One explanation can be the fact that some things just take time to crystallize in ones head. Sometimes time is the best teacher.

You’ve probably experienced this as well. You have knowledge about a lot of things/concepts but don’t yet understand the connection between some of them. Then one day, you wake up and say to yourself “Oh, I see it now!”.

But how does this realization affected me?

In numerous ways, actually.

I feel more content. I try to give my full attention to whatever I’m doing. I don’t feel guilty about it! I don’t wish I had spent that time doing development instead.


Not long ago I decided to start this blog with the intention of having a place where I can share my thoughts. Or small tips. Or explore new ideas. A place which I can take in any direction I want.

I started to write. I’m certainly not the best writer but it didn’t take much time to notice that all my posts were still related to the fact that I’m a developer. As if I had unconsciously restricted myself to certain topics only because I happen to work in a certain field. Here’s how that looks as a formula (because math is the best):

I’m a developer + I have a personal blog = I only write about technical stuff

I wanted to challenge that.

Three years ago I started running. It was something I decided to try so I can take breaks away from my desk. Going for a run has certainly helped me get in shape, clear my mind, explore the surrounding area and probably solve some nasty bugs. Most weeks I go out only once. It’s not much but I try to be consistent. So far I’ve ran four half marathons and I’m currently preparing for a fifth.

I wanted to highlight this part of me on the blog. I put my thinking hat on. What could that be and how would it look like?

I use Strava to track my runs. They also to have a nice API. So I used it to build a widget that shows my latest run. It‘s not much and in the future I want to add more stuff to it. Maybe show a map, images taken during a run or come up with a clever idea to mix a post with a run. Not because I’m a great runner, but because I’m more than just a developer!

A widget showing my latest run


My latest run, right there.

Now let me tell you something - YOU, too, are more than just a developer!

I bet you already know this but do you realize it? Do you rush through your other roles so you can come back to your “true” self? Do you feel you’re wasting your time while doing something else other than improving your skills as a developer?

You don’t have to!

So who are you? What do you enjoy doing besides being a developer/designer/...? Maybe you like reading, cycling, running, jumping, crocheting, cooking, spending time with friends and family?

Do you have a personal site/blog where you highlight that?

I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.

Discussion (8)

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vimmer9 profile image
Damir Franusic • Edited

Thanks for posting. I sort of had a similar idea, more of a conundrum whether to write about dev stuff or everything else. My first post was mostly to vent out and write my background story. Great job finishing those marathons, wow. I tried running and was getting better but it was too much for my tendons so I quit and discovered Yoga, which I've been practicing for 3+ years now. Welcome and hope to see more quality posts from you, dev or non-dev related.

Cheers
DF

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dzhavat profile image
Dzhavat Ushev Author

Thanks and welcome to you as well :)

I’m glad you’ve tried running. Sorry to hear about feeling discomfort in your tendons. I hope you’re enjoying doing yoga. I haven’t tried it but it seems like a good way to clear ones mind, stretch and relax.

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johnadan profile image
John McLem Adan • Edited

Hi Dzhavat! I appreciate your post. I've realized that I find myself enjoying singing, dancing, playing drums and arcade games outside work. I think arcade gaming is starting to be my weekly habit every weekend. I also enjoy occasional travels. Haven't tried yet committing to a fitness routine but looking forward to it soon. Thanks for the insights.

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dzhavat profile image
Dzhavat Ushev Author

Thanks for sharing your comment! If you enjoy doing something outside of work, then continue doing it! That's the best thing you can do for yourself. And don't regret it or wish you were doing something else instead.

There are so many things going on in the development world that we're constantly trying to catch up and thus this feeling of FOMO. The tutorials/courses/Twitter can wait until you finish your song, dance, game or whatever. :)

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nesterow profile image
Anton Nesterov • Edited

Thanks for the post. When a hobby becomes your work it often leads to addiction. Getting into new activities away from your desk at least two days a week helps a lot ;)

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dzhavat profile image
Dzhavat Ushev Author

Yes it does! Do you practice something yourself?

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Anton Nesterov

I am trying to do different activities every week, so that it wouldn't become a routine. New impressions is a key. I have my friends to generate ideas on what to do on the next week if I don't know it myself. For example, this week I went kayaking (never did it before, was a fun). Next week we'll play paintball. If i find something that I really like I stick with it. I really liked snowboarding, but it takes some effort and practice to ride it, so the next winter I plan to do more of it.
Of course, it is not always a sport activity. I just do what I feel would be the best for me at the time.
To sum it up, the idea is to get more interaction with the world and people, it helps to grow personally and be more creative.

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Dzhavat Ushev Author

You’ve summarized it quite nicely. Having the opportunity to experience the world is amazing.