I've been thinking about joy lately. Which seems like a sad sentence to write. But I promise it's not that bad! It's more of a yearning for something new. I have all these questions in my head like, am I in the right career? Should I move back to Australia? Am I even a good programmer? Am I having an early-to-mid life crisis? Maybe it's time to invest all my savings into bitcoin?
Whenever I have these existential crises, I try to focus on what I really enjoy in life. And even though I question my career choices. I really enjoy being a developer. If you're looking to make the switch into technology or are having similar existential crises I hope this post sparks some joy for you!
The community is one of the biggest reasons why I'm a developer. Being able to share experiences with people all over the world is incredible. If I wasn't in this industry, I don't know what my tribe would be. When I first started, it was only until I found CodeNewbie that I felt like I made the right career choice. Another amazing group of people is the DEV community. It's inspiring to see people from around the world talk about their experiences with programming. The encouragement I get on that platform is what keeps pushing me to write about my experiences. It was through my local Ruby meetup that got me a job as a Ruby on Rails engineer. Which helped propel me to a career in the States. Having a community that includes people from all over the world, in all different disciplines makes me so happy.
The AHA Moments
Do you know that feeling when you've spent hours on a problem that you just can't crack? When this mental block happens to me, I go for a walk, maybe get some much needed sleep, or just have a good old vent to coworkers. When I come back to the problem, the solution magically appears. This AHA moment is what I live for. One of the reasons I love being a developer is that you're put in these situations every day. It's rarely strokes of genius. Most of the time it's about understanding the context, like where something goes or why it was named
do_the_things. Regardless, solving problems brings my joy.
Building an idea
How cool is it to take an idea and turn it into something tangible? Now add in the fact that it may only take you weeks or months to get something up and running. Oh and also, you can build everything by yourself. All you need is a computer (and the internet, probably)! That's a crazy thing to be able to do! One of the biggest things that drew me to being a developer was the ability to create beautiful websites. Something that brings joy to others. When I'm in the day to day grind, it's hard to see the big picture. But when I stop and reflect, I realise that I can make something tangible by writing a few magic words.
Privilege of Choice
I had initially wanted to talk about the ability to work from anywhere. But it's really about the privilege of choice. Being a developer grants you a lot of privileges. Lately, I've started trying to figure out how to help others with my privilege. To be transparent, DE&I is something I've only started thinking about when I moved to the States. Before that time I felt like I was too new to be able to make a difference. And even now, I know there's a lot more that I can do. But what I can do is affect change to hiring processes within my company. I can be an active ally that speaks up to racial injustices. And be able to reassure others who are just starting out that they too have a voice. Having privilege as a developer and choosing to use that to help others is something I never want to stop doing.
Thank god for GIFs. That is all.
I enjoy being a developer not because of the code. But because of the experiences around it. To this day, I feel like I need to prove that I'm passionate about writing code. Honestly, I don't think I'd ever be a good code monkey. And I'm glad I don't have to be. Because of the community I've had amazing opportunities, I've met brilliant people, and been able to solve some interesting problems. If you're looking at switching careers into technology and want to chat about what that journey looks like, please reach out to me on Twitter or shoot me an email.