As most of you would be aware, I'm a doctor, a specialist in anaesthesia, and only moonlight with code in my spare time. The only reason I have time to moonlight is great care for work/life balance to make sure I have enough time to tinker with the things I enjoy doing. At about August each year, it must be recruitment time at big software companies or something because each year for the last few years, I've had a couple of different companies approach me about considering a career with them. Of course with a stable career, income, work-life balance, proximal location to work and so on, you can imagine I would never have considered changing careers, especially after the investment I put into specialising. The fact is I had pretty much enjoyed my career and the intellectual stimulation it provided. But intellectual stimulation fades with time because as one of my teachers once told me "if it's still exciting in 10 years time it's because you don't know what you're doing".
Anyway this year was different because I had decided I needed an extended break from work for personal development reasons and figured I'd go through the interview process and see where things ended up. I knew full well my knowledge base was sparse to say the least, knowing great details about minute things and missing vast amounts of other general information and experience. Sure I explained that to the recruiters and in the past they've baulked at finding that out, or wanted to put me through the process and send me to $faraway_location. This time the recruiter was positive and was considering all options that might actually suit me, including the tempting carrot of suggesting working remotely (but not confirming it), so I went through the interview routine with said $software_company expecting my lack of general knowledge would be my downfall. This might help explain my sudden interest in algorithmic complexity and sorting algorithms...
And indeed I did get rejected. This is, of course, not surprising in the slightest. Now I have to go away and decide whether I want to spend lots of spare time studying all that general stuff to move house and home, family and work security to work for much less income full time in another state or country on general software. Or I could stick to working part-time as an anaesthetist and hack on whatever I like in my spare time and keep all those other things. Change always has something that attracts us in perverse ways...
Thanks for sharing ck. Interesting anecdote. I can relate, in certain ways. I wouldn't be at all shocked if they end up hiring a fresh compsci grad with little to no practical experience.ReplyDelete
I don't know whether I'm happy or sad for you... but I think about this sort of thing a lot too.ReplyDelete
Someone told me once that: if you won the lottery and you never had to work to earn a living... what would you do do in your free time? That's what you should do for your job (if possible, haha).
Anyways, keep hacking!
create a startup? (oh, feel free to ignore this advice as this is standard answer fom all problems from light minded people.)ReplyDelete
Stability is worth a lot. Better enjoy your software experience *because* it is part time and without pressure, than leaving a solid situation and discover how boring and unstable is the life of most software engineers.ReplyDelete
I used to like programming as a hobby, but then I went to school for it. Even though I really enjoyed programming as a hobby I found out that I despised doing it when there were strict deadlines and I couldn't choose what I would work on. It actually ruined programming for me. I've only put good amount of effort into coding something as a hobby maybe two or three times in the eight years since then. Now that I'm thinking about it, it has been a while. Maybe I should try picking up C again. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that there is a big difference in doing something as a hobby and doing something professionally. You might want to pick up a programming project that you have very little interest in and set yourself a difficult deadline and see if that is something you wouldn't mind doing as a career.ReplyDelete
Thanks very much for your comments on this most personal issue. It's taken a long time for me to realise that what matters is me leaving enough time for my own personal development and that I have the balance right now. It's not the software development that attracted me but the freedom to spend time on software - if I so desired. I doubt I'll considering working for a software company unless it's on my terms now. I had already invested a lot of time to get to where I am, I just have to use this balance appropriately now.ReplyDelete
Keep doing what you are doing now until the money offered is so huge that it is impossible to turn it down.ReplyDelete