To start off, I want to briefly touch on who I am. I've been creepin' through DEV posts for some time now, made it more "official" by finally making an account (mostly for the sake of bookmarking posts I come across but don't have time to read right away), with a handful of comments starting to go out to posts that really sink in for myself. I'm a software developer that's never felt quite ready or good enough, but like the challenge and push on. My aspirations are less in coding itself and more in creation of things. Turns out, coding is creating things, just not particularly what I want to create, but that's a story for another post.
Passion is often talked about a lot in the development community. You will often see posts in the fashion of "You have to be passionate about coding if you want to do X or Y" or "If you don't show passion for coding, you can't get X or Y" or maybe the more burning "If we don't see your passion for coding, we just can't hire you." That's okay. That's probably not the company I want to work for anyway. Passion is always the burning topic and what seems to be the highlight and top deciding point for an interviewer with a candidate.
But...what is passion, and what particular type of passion is necessary to be deemed worthy of working as a software developer? Let's talk about that.
Passion, which has quite a handful of definitions, in this particular situation simply means
an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.
When I think of this definition of passion, there are a few things that cross my mind in particular(and in no set order):
- Art, be it drawing, painting, writing, music, etc. The creation of things that bring people joy.
- Helping others grow and succeed, and in that same matter, helping businesses grow and succeed.
- Education. Learning as much as possible about any topic of interest, be it in technology, science, math, literature, music, health and more. Continued education and self-study.
- Exploration. The excitement of exploring unknown areas, places you've never seen, mountains you've never climbed, oceans you've never swam. Or maybe..a career field you've never entered. Exploring things unknown to you, which I suppose could very well fall in line with Education.
I guess the next question would be...why? It's an interesting question I toss around myself often. Why am I not passionate about development the way others are? Why do I feel unsuccessful or under-performing in comparison to my peers? Why continue to chase something I'm not directly passionate about?
I like the challenge. Before diving in to this world, I was always chasing to reach the highest I could at any one company. When I finally hit that plateau, and it was at least mostly obvious there was no other position to advance to, or they wouldn't allow me to for whatever reason, I moved on. My final straw was in moving from a simple delivery driver for a store to assistant manager within less than 6 months time. It was fun, exciting, and....not challenging. At all. I learned more about management, training others (which I had done for years in previous fields in mental health and special needs), operations and so on. It was a nice insight. But it wasn't challenging. Once I found the patterns, I was able to streamline daily processes, which cut down times and improved sales at that store, which was great. Unfortunately, it was also quite obvious they weren't going to let me move up to store manager or area manager or anything higher than what I was, no matter what I did. That's okay though. I got bored of having nothing new to learn, and no ladder to keep climbing, so I turned in my 2 weeks notice and dived in to software development.
But Travis, if you aren't passionate about it, why did you choose it?
Because of the new experience, the endless need for self-education, the large room for growth, and let's face it...this is what the world is slowly transforming in to. It also offers new insight on ways to better optimize businesses. It allowed me to optimize the performance of a small team on a Congressional Campaign, which cut down their working hours while increasing volunteer sign up and voter turn out during one of the most important election times in the US. It's allowed me to poke through and see the flaws and how they can be corrected at the company I currently work at as a mere "Tier 1 Tech Support Specialist." I've been in the process of rebuilding a handful of sites for this company while also rebuilding their messy knowledge-base, offering ideas on how to optimize and simplify the basic troubleshooting steps for most common issues with their Point-of-Sales system. I've been able to dive in to their (lack) of cyber security within their own company.
How far will it take me here in how fast of a time frame? I've made it clear to them I'm not staying here as a tech support. I hate talking on phones. I've been tech support my entire life for my family, friends, colleagues and co-workers. It's not challenging once you've learned the patterns. If we can't move in my time frame, that's okay. They aren't ready for it, so I will move on. In the mean time, I'm still actively seeking my first true software developer position. It's taking me some time, but I've come to accept that and in the mean time, keep improving myself for when the time comes the right company picks me.
So what does the future hold? Who knows. I know that I want to spend at least 3 or so years in software development. I know that there are a handful of various businesses I would like to launch of my own. It's fun helping improve other businesses, but it would be even more so to see my own "babies" grow. I know that I need to write more, particularly through my own coding processes for companies to easier see the way I think and plan and process and create. So this is my first step.
What about you? What are you passionate about? Is it software development? If so, what in particular? Is it something else? If so, what is it? I fully believe there are more like me, that aren't particularly passionate about development, but are passionate about tech, education and so on that wouldn't let their code or their company suffer because of it. I think that's the part that irks me the most. "You aren't passionate about coding, so you probably write sloppy code or don't know how." Well, I am new to it, so yeah, I'm learning. I will learn to optimize my own code, make it more readable, write tests and so on as time goes by. But I also like to make time to pursue my own true passions, of which coding can very well benefit me, so it's quite important I learn how to write better code and keep up with new tech to some extent.