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Why Did You Become A Software Developer?

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As it is still a relatively young profession, it's interesting to see why people became software developers. It can be a fantastic question to ask at an interview, as an honest answer gives you real insight into how passionate someone really is about developing software, or at least can help guage potential. A lot of the time people are simply in it for the money. Other times I find that people have fallen into the industry - they had a different idea of what their degree would lead to, and ended up somewhere completely different. Although this happens, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

I'd like to see why readers decided to become a software developer. After voting, please leave comments to give us some more insight. Perhaps, more importantly, how can we encourage new graduates to join the software industry


Frank Silbermann replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 11:14am

Computer programming was the only job I could find in which the day-to-day activities used the same kind of mental processes as doing mathematics. Here, I distinguish between doing mathematics, as contrasted with knowing mathematics or, say, doing arithmetic.


There are plenty of jobs where to get them you have to know mathematics.  For example, an actuary has to know mathematics, but most of his time is spent doing clerical or administrative work and management.


There are plenty of jobs where you have to do arithmetic, e.g. accounting.  But arithmetic bears the same relation to mathematics as bricklaying bears to architecture.


No, I couldn't find any jobs, aside from hot-shot theoretical scientific research that involved doing mathematics (e.g. proving theorems, deriving formulas).


Nor am I claiming that many programmers use mathematics.


What I am saying is that the activity of deducing the cause of a failing program is much like the activity of trying to find the flaw in a proof.  Writing a computer program uses the same brain cells as those used in creating a proof or derivation.  Writing a well-written program uses the same kind of talent used in writing an elegant proof.


Computer programming is like doing mathematics.

Solomon Duskis replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 12:49pm

As a kid, I tore apart broken gadgets to see what was inside and how things fit together.  I started programming when I was 10, and haven't looked back since

Michael Slack replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 1:03pm

I was two and half years into a EE degree and was getting burned out - I had heard there was good money in EE.  Had some friends and family convince me to look at going CS.  After investigating, realized my talent was developing software and never really looked back.  FInally something I enjoyed and was good at doing.  26 years later, no regrets.

Travis Calder replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 1:54pm

I started playing with code in my mid-teens and it felt incredible to be able to write a cryptic set of instructions that made this beefy impressive piece of hardware do whatever I asked it to. After trying it out for a real customer shortly after that (and doing fairly poorly), I found I absolutely loved the delicate balance between problem solving and customer management. It's the only thing I've tried where I'm allowed exercise my creativity, problem solving skills, and people skills, all at the same time on a daily basis.

Tracy Nelson replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 2:34pm

I wanted to be a developer ever since I first found a copy of Dave Ahl's 101 BASIC Computer Games in high school.  I wrote programs for probably close to a year before I even got to touch a computer.  My dad got a TRS-80 and I took it and ran with it.  My primary languages were BASIC -> Pascal -> PL/I -> C -> Visual Basic -> Java.  I also picked up some FORTRAN, COBOL, Scheme, PHP, Ruby and assorted assembly and one-off languages (remember those 4GLs that were so hot in the 80s?).  Now I'm slogging up the .NET/C# learning curve, le plus ca change....

Jan Jamrich replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 2:48pm

For me reason was very egoistic: developing software doesn't cost money. I decided to be SW developer at high school, which is focused on electronics. Develop/create some stuff in electronics require buy some other stuff. Firstly I started with Pascal (we learned Pascal at school) and in free time with Delphi (6). This was too expensive (it was around 1998-2000), but as a student I didn't worry about licenses. Then I met Free Software (and Java), and this was definitive answer for me. As a SW developer I can create goods without buying new stuff for every new thing, and when participate/use Free Software I don't have reinvent wheel or pay for invented wheel. This is very important thing for me.

Seth Rosen replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 6:43pm

I've always loved computers and solving problems. Also my first CS teacher was amazing

Loren Kratzke replied on Tue, 2010/05/04 - 11:14pm

It was either TwilightZone or Star Trek. I had to know what made those lights blink, and why in that order.

Basic (main frame) > GW Basic > Commodore Basic > Visual Basic > C++ > Java

(Other technologies ommitted for brevity)

Setya Djajadinata replied on Wed, 2010/05/05 - 12:02am

My major in university was Accounting, but I enjoy programming a lot more since it's the only activity that makes me sit for hours night & day without getting bored and sleepy, moreover you don't have to graduate from CS in order to get a decent-paid job as a software engineer here.

As a start, I learned programming by reading programming books I could find since I could not afford a PC (and there was no internet either) and borrowing my friends's PC here & there. I feel programming is so natural to me so I make a living out of it for almost 10 years now.

I just don't understand and am a little pissed off sometimes when people keep telling me to move to managerial level for better career & money and I usually reply that you still can get both through software development plus enjoying your life as bonuses.

The language path is VB -> Java.

Raffaele Gambelli replied on Wed, 2010/05/05 - 2:56am

Other reason


I've started Computer Science University in 1999 Bologna (Italy) because it was clear that there will be more possibilities to find a job, not necessarily a well paid job but a sure job. 

Today I'm working in this industry and if I wanted to change current job, in a month or two I would find another  one :) and as you know in this difficult period of recession is a very good thing.

Best regards




Kapil Viren Ahuja replied on Mon, 2010/05/10 - 1:56am

I wanted to be a developer ever since "I wrote my first Hello World Program".

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