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Discussion on: Lost Motivation to code

k0d3g3ar profile image

I've been a software developer for 35 years. My first computer was a TRS80 Model 1 in 1978. I guess I can say that I've been where you are, and at different times thought of giving it up and doing something else. Today I'm in the latter years of my career, so giving it up is innevitable. Most of us that program forget that it is a lonely path. We spend our time transfixed on one thing - a thing that is a solo endeavor, although we might work on a team. But the reality is your code is YOUR code. Not others. Sure, you might have to maintain other people's code (yuk) but ultimately the thing that drives us is that code is just another language and a good coder is like a great book writer. You express yourself through code.

Authors go through patches where they can't write. They often need a muse of someone that can either motivate or keep them on track. Coders don't get that. We are expected to be self-motivational. For the most part, the money keeps us that way. If you are broke, coding will bring you out of poverty. If you are wealthy, then the need to code isn't because of money and you have to find another reason. Most of the time our egos dictate that our expression through code is much the same motivator a writer gets through authoring a book, or a poet gets by writing prose, or a musician gets by playing or constructing music. It is our egos that drive our willingness to do what we do.

If you are programming for someone else (ie. job, contract, etc.) then you can't find solace in your ego by that. You ultimately have to code because it tells you that you are good at something - it strokes your ego which is something all humans need. But I find that if you are financially ok, then the need to do it probably isn't going to be motivational if it is for someone else.

For me, I can only code now if I'm working on some invention that I created. Something that is mine. This is an ego based need. I can't stand clients and their demands. I can't stand their lack of empathy with just how complex inter-connecting pieces of a puzzle are and what it takes to string it all together and make it work. They don't understand anything that I do, yet they rely solely on what we all can create. The fact is that they lost the will to do anything manually long ago, and yet treat coders as nerds who they want to stomp their feet and demand more, more, more from. Just because they can't do this themselves. They will do everything psychologically to make coders feel obligated to them, even though they couldn't do shit if we didn't code it for them.

There is absolute understanding and justification into why some coders become dark side hackers. They love what they do, they get enormous ego benefit from it, but they can't stand the clients. They know they have all the power, yet they rarely get to enjoy that. Maybe the money helps, but then what?

The fact of all of this is that coding is lonely, good money but so is being a lawyer or a doctor. Are we creating a new world that motivates us to embrace what we do? Some are. But if you are just an employee and you are bored, the reality is that you have to start saving your money big time, go out and do this on your own so that your ego is served by what you create, and that you are doing this for you - not for some client you would never befriend outside of work.

If that is out of the question, give it up and do something else. The world is your oyster.