That’s what computer programmers are calling themselves nowadays. The profession (if you can even call it that) goes by a litany of none-too-glamorous names, such as developer, programmer, engineer, technician, and more stuff that doesn’t quite make you the most popular guy in the room. Hence, a lot of, er, programmers (for lack of a better word) go by ninja or such. Which I find slightly annoying – you’re writing code, not killing enemies of the emperor. But I digress.
So what do a chef, musician, artist, teacher, and inventor have in common with a lowly programmer? They don’t quite have glorious jobs either… But I’ll tell you what. Anyone who’s in one of these fields will tell you they love their job. Most anyone, anyway. It sure isn’t because of the pay.
It’s because of the reward. Not material. It’s that feeling that you’ve reached out to someone, directly improved their life with something you’ve made or done.
Chefs and musicians and artists ply their craft to provide quality enjoyment.
Teachers (usually) see their students learn and improve, moving forward in life – because of them.
And inventors – they are directly improving the lives of thousands or millions with their creations – lightbulbs, computers, whatever.
And that’s the kind of reward that we computer programmers get. To know that something you have made is being used and enjoyed by others. There’s nothing quote like that feeling.
As great as making a game is, it’a not totally rewarding because you know people aren’t really doing that much with it save for, you know, wasting their time.
No, what’s really rewarding is making software people can actually use to work or learn. Programming languages, education software, heck even a camera app are all useful to millions. And that’s why I love developing Cabra, a flashcard and arising tool which can help anyone improve their learning. It’s like being a teacher, inventor, and chef all rolled into one.
So when I check my email I may not find a statement telling me I earned a few thousand today, but I may find an email from a user relating a personal experience or personal comments on my software. And that’s the most rewarding part of what I do. Knowing that I’m helping someone, with personal, individual proof. Those emails are priceless.
Emails like those are the reason I release all my software free of charge. I want to help people, not my wallet. People – your users – should always come first, whether you’re a chef, inventor, or, yes, developer.
People first. That’s why software should be free. Free software is a boon to the community and – dare I say it – the world.
Sure, you can say being a developer/coder/programmer/whatever isn’t too glamorous, but with a few lines of code you can touch the world. Not bad for a day’s work.