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Don't trade your creativity for money.

How I made a living from code in one year

It all actually started as a kid, not code - curiosity. You see, I believe that the majority of programmers (at least all the self-taught ones) get into it because of the nature of their curiosity. I remember taking things apart and putting them back together since a really young age.

Fast forward to the age of 22 and here I was sitting on the couch of a company closely associated with Google, talking to (what seemed to be) the coolest employer ever. I got an interview through a job hunt after successfully completing a bunch of full-stack javascript bootcamps and spending about 16 hours a day building stuff.

I was thrilled to get the position and join the company culture - we were going to build the coolest, most exciting web software and I got to be part of it!


What I ended up becoming a part of, was a chain of command - starting with the unending scope creep of the customer to the desperate clinging of the boss-man to motivate the developers through yet another "final tweek" - and there was no choice, because my compensation depends on the customer's non-existent satisfaction.

The industry chewed me up and spat me out. I quit the job, even though I made decent money for a junior, and for weeks after that I couldn't even look at my computer. Every time I felt the urge to build something, I dreaded it - it felt as if though I'll anyway never be satisfied and may as well not even start. The corporate disease consumed me.

The money trap

Quitting a job is quite a bad experience. Even though before the job I could sustain my life, after it I felt like everything I was able to afford was taken from me (which was a lie). The monkey on my back kept telling me to get back into it. I have at this point been coding again, making Youtube videos for fun and enjoying programming.

I thought: "This time I'll code on my own terms" - become a freelancer. Freelancing is much better. You control your workload, hours, projects etc. But in the end, you're again stuck in a black hole of putting money, customer satisfaction, marketing and hard work in front of the very reason you want to pursue a career in programming - curiosity.

Vow to yourself

If you're a recently graduated developer in some stack on the lookout for a job and this is a thing that you're sure you want to pursue. You have to vow to yourself to never let the pressure and demands of the world outside hamper your creativity and never-ending urge to learn more.

I'm currently working for much less money, but I'm 10x happier. I know for some this isn't feasible, but money can become dangerous to your curiosity when it surpasses the point of necessity.

A new outlook

After just a short while in the industry I have decided to put learning and creating above all. I am stepping out once my project pipeline clears and I'm getting back to making beautiful things, contributing to impactful open-source projects and most of all teaching the value of the love for programming outside of money to the world through the internet.

Creating for change, not profit.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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