re: How do you survive over a year of rejected applications? VIEW POST

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You don't need to come up w/ a side project that has never been done before! This is something that troubled me for soooo long, and then one day, I had real eureka moment. You don't need to come up w/ some genius idea that is completely original or novel. (In fact, if you're trying to come up w/ a business idea, you don't even really want to.)

Do you know how many blogging platforms there are? Or forums? Or task managers? Too many to count.

The point of having a side project is to demonstrate your skills, and not just your coding skills. Having a side project is an opportunity to talk excitedly (and passionately) about something you know very well and are familiar with. It's a way to show that you can identify a problem, come up with a solution, communicate it to others, market the project, design an interface, write a clear readme, etc.

You also don't have to come up w/ a full-blown side project or contribute to open source projects. I asked six technical founders how engineers can stand out from the applicant pool, and I thought Amy Hoy's response was really awesome. Here's an excerpt:

Speaking about programming or relevant professional topics, recording screencasts, sharing code snippets, designing cheat sheets, writing blog posts, all of these things will build reputation and communication skills and demonstrate that you are a well-rounded individual and not just a keyboard jockey.

 

I guess it depends on your definition of what passion is, but when I see you say that you must be passionate in order to succeed or even get an opportunity in this industry, I'm confused. Is that the only way to find a job? To be excited overall about the industry? Maybe I'm not explaining myself too well. What I mean to say is that I don't believe you have to be passionate to succeed in any industry, yet uniquely, I see a lot of people discouraging one another in articles and comments about people who don't find programming to be their passion or life purpose or what have you. At least for me, I chose this because it's a way to finally move out of my parent's house and not struggle to survive on minimum wage. Yes. Money isn't everything, but when you're struggling with sacrificing rent or food, at least for me, I'd want to avoid that to begin with. And for my situation, programming is a way to finally be on my own. I've even got a 2 year degree to help my matters. I just graduated days ago.

 

I think we're on the same page here, actually. It matters how you define "passion" and of course, what you're passionate about. There are tons of folks who are passionate about making money and they've absolutely succeeded. I personally don't think that there is anything wrong w/ that.

I do think that if two people are going head to head, the person who is more passionate about the race/project/task at hand is going to out perform the other (all else being equal). I see this in myself all the time. There are plenty of things that I'm good at, but that I don't enjoy doing. I drag my feet, procrastinate, and don't care much about the final product. There are plenty of things that I'm not particularly good at but they give me life. Caring so much makes me do those things well.

You don't have to LOVE what a company does in order to love working there, but there are plenty of companies that have the ability to choose from a big pool of candidates and value a genuine passion for their product/service/industry.

Think about it like dating or marriage. Plenty of people want to have kids and raise a family. You don't have to be in love w/ your partner to do those things. As a result, some people prioritize that "passion" more than others.

So what you're saying is, if you were in my shoes and programming wasn't your passion, you would find a career that does give you passion? Is that an accurate conclusion?

Not quite. If you absolutely hate programming and dread doing it every day, then I think it's worth taking a step back to consider what you'd rather be doing. It's a privilege to be able to "do what you love" instead of needing to make ends meet. For most programmers, after some time, they have that luxury to be choosey, and I urge them to think long and hard about how they spend their waking hours.

If you enjoy programming, but aren't particularly passionate about it, I'd encourage you to think about what does light your fire and give you life. One of the best things about programming is that you can combine it w/ just about anything. Whether you love fashion, travel, analytics, or medicine, there are countless jobs that combine code and the thing you love. Non-profits need programmers too, and so do educational universities.

I know this is some old post, but...

I agree with both of you: you don't need to be passionate about coding to work with it - specially when your main goal at the moment is making ends meet.

But when things starts to drag you down, is time to search for somewhere where you can combine your crafts with your passion, as Lynne suggested. And even on this situation, you still don't need to be passionate about coding.

Take care!

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