You know what we achieve with all our wonderful software patterns and practices? Not a lot on the whole.
We do fairly well financially out of it, and many of those who use our software do fairly well financially from it too. A select few of us write software that can have a small impact on the well being of others, but even then, it is in a totally detached way.
But how often can you say that your day at work has affected somebody else's life for the better, or made a really positive change to the world? How often can you look in the mirror and say my whole day was spent helping other people?
So, what the hell am I doing in the software game? Well, like I suspect many of us, I fell into it by accident. It was my hobby at school, I wrote games software and made a fairly comfortable (for a schoolboy) living from doing it.
Although my choice of O Levels (equivalent to GCSEs these days) were picked around becoming a doctor, and even though my mother had to argue with the school for weeks to get them to allow me to do three sciences, home and family circumstances at that time meant I never actually took most of my school exams. So with nothing in the way of real qualifications, I drifted into what I was naturally good at - technical support and writing computer software. My hobby turned into
Twenty odd years later, and I am more than comfortable with my career, I like to think I am pretty good at it. I also still often think, I could have been adding much more value to other people's lives if I had stuck with my original choice. Recently I met a lady who was a nurse, and I was totally inspired by her and how much satisfaction she clearly got from her work – she told me that I could still retrain even at this stage in life.
Now I expect you are waiting for some kind of development related conclusion here ... but unfortunately there isn't one. What there is, is a small realisation that I could probably be doing something more for the world.
So, I have started seriously investigating my options for a radical career change - and to retrain as a medical doctor. Now this isn't quite my swansong from development just yet. Not only do I have some major considerations to make, but I also have to put enough money aside to finance this shift, and after all that I have to succeed in an application to medical school, which in the UK is a very difficult task indeed, as places at our universities are very sought after, and the universities can afford to be very selective. I could even do one or two years getting the entry requirements, only to fail to get a place at medical school.
But, I have started sending off enquiries to various universities asking for their advice on the best route in, and perhaps it will pay off. It will be time consuming, financially very hard in the short
term, but it could be the most rewarding thing I could possibly do.
Ultimately, Job Satisfaction is About More Than Financial Reward
Whatever I eventually do, I have made a decision to get out and start giving back something to the world, maybe that will be with 6 years of medical training, followed by years of excessively long hours for very little pay ... or maybe it will be just finding ways to make people's lives better while continuing my career in software.
I encourage you all to find something positive you can give back to the world - the development community has some incredibly smart and insightful people - let's not waste all our efforts on arguing over whether we should invert our dependencies or not!
And if you want somewhere to start doing your small bit, can I suggest you take a read of The Girl Next Door by Bil Simser
Bloody hell that was DEEP!
03-29-2009 12:24 PM