Choosing a career is one of the most important things that you will get a chance to do in life, so it's important to choose wisely. It's dangerous to go alone, so take this..recommendation..if you will. I chose my career long ago not knowing what kind of work I'd be doing down the line and not knowing whether I would enjoy it or not. I can say this, I do enjoy doing what I do, and am glad that I get the chance to do it. Personally it was a long arduous journey to get into this field. Years of useless college classes, tens of thousands spent in education, thousands of miles driven and I'd gladly do it all again. I'm a Software Developer / Web Developer / Hopeful Front-End Developer (at times) and while the job doesn't take me into interesting places physically, mentally I'm constantly busy. After over a decade in the field, these are the main reasons why I do what I do and why just maybe you should to.
These Are Exciting Times
Everyday I wake up and hear about the next big thing in technology, and it makes me excited every time that there's still a strong community of developers and technology enthusiasts out there making it happen. Whether it be a phone app, or a new game coming out, or just a website that does something that no other website could get done right, there's always someone behind it all making it happen. I went to high school during a time when no one had a cell phone of any kind and only 2 of my friends had their own computers in their bedrooms. Maybe I just went to a really uncool high school :/ But alas no, college was kind of the same. I didn't get a cell phone until my second year in college, and at the time the coolest thing you could do with it was control your music from the side buttons. Since then there's been a massive push in innovation and it's pretty cool to even have the opportunity to be a part of it all.
Here are a couple of noteworthy projects that didn't exist back when I was in college. And there's obviously thousands of others out there that deserve praise in their own right. Things like digitized content, free global communication mediums, millions of blogs and vlogs with people sharing their daily doings. All amazing things that I can clearly remember were once just rumor and speculation. This is definitely a great time to be a part of our societies birth and rise in technology.
There's Always Something To Learn
This only applies, if you like learning new things. If you don't, then this is not the right field :/ Anyhow.
It's not just in a technical aspect but in whatever you find yourself working on. I spent years working on sales software for an advertising department, and it is no easy task. Meeting after meeting learning about their daily tasks and keywords and acronyms. And it was an impressive setup they had up and running. Later after that I became involved with a dog breeder website, and once again there was tons that needed to be learned. And this does not include what I learned about technology along the way.
When I first started off I was a Windows forms developer. And I enjoyed it for the most part. The client base is smaller and there are less issues to worry about. After some time I moved over to web development although a bit hesitant about it at the time. And it was a whole different ball game. The people looking at my work went from a few dozen, to tens of thousands daily. That in itself is a huge learning experience. There is no way to do this job correctly without improving yourself daily.
So maybe you won't be buying that condo of your dreams right out of college like your professors told you. I know mine did.
But if your skills are good enough, you can land a decent pay at some point down the road. That usually boasts true for any career, but year in and year out the technology field has always landed near the top brackets when it comes to median salaries. I'll say this, after college and 20+ interviews later, I was blown away at my starting salary. I was used to minimum wage if lucky, and to have a company invest their hard cash on someone whom they just met was amazing.
According to some awesome labor statistics:
But again, don't expect to make those numbers off the bat. The low 10% average in at around $55,000 and I've known people who've made much less. But there's always the exception. I've known people who were amazing developers who earned in the bottom 5% and on their second job jumped up to the top 5%. It just depends on how much you know and how well you can utilize it to make yourself stand out.
You Can Work..From Pretty Much Anywhere
You can pretty much do your job from any location with an internet connection, and sometimes not even an internet connection. I've mainly worked in offices during the entirety of my career, and I never really knew why. I would do the same in the office as I would do when I got home and needed to finish something up. Many times people would think that maybe I needed to be there in case someone needed to go over some business matters, which happened everyday pretty much. But, I mainly talked to those people online or in email and rarely in person. Lately it's becoming more common place for companies to allow their employees to work at home and it's an awesome thing.
I have several friends who work for companies where coming into the office is 100% optional. And those companies are thriving. Every employee is given the latest in laptops to get their job done and no one complains one bit. Too bored to work at home? Drive down to the beach and write that Sql report. Don't feel like working at 8am? Then work from 6pm to the wee hours. As long as the job gets done, then you are good to go. I've noticed more and more companies making this a standard practice, and why not, a happy employee that cares about his work will provide much better quality. Check out WeWorkRemotely.com if you find yourself not fit to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day.
You Can Work For Yourself
My personal favorite reason.
This is one of the few careers where you don't need an organization/corporation in order to make a living. If you have a good idea and you know how to go about making it a reality, then with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, you can make a living and then some. We see it happen all the time, and we probably hear about it much less. New phone apps take off every day, new websites help you out in some way in your daily life, and there's someone behind those things making it happen. Developers build awesome blogs (ahem) also. The more you learn, the more you can do. And the more you can do, the bigger reach you have in society.
Personally, most of my friends nowadays have their own projects that they maintain daily, and while no one has really "taken off" just yet, they still do it, we enjoy talking about it, and we love creating it. It takes alot of work to learn to love it.. This field isn't for everyone. I've known many people that have attempted it, only to realize that they hated it every single day. It's sometimes difficult, frustrating and sometimes tedious work. But when it's not, oh yeah, it is definitely good.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.