Aside from the ever increasing job market in the technology sector that sees no end in sight, there are quite a few perks to being a software developer / web developer, programmer, etc in this day and age. More so than just the assumed high paying job, growing as a computer scientist means a growing awareness to what's going on around you in the tech world in general. When you visit a website, it's no longer just visiting a website. You have a deeper understanding of the entire process. When new hardware is released you immediately have a basic understanding on how it works. It's an ever increasingly technological world and keeping up with it is becoming more important by the day.
You save a fortune
Software is expensive. Buying is expensive, leasing it is expensive. Even a simple watermarking tool that you can find online cost some amount of money. Fair enough, as someone spent a good amount of time building it. But if you're a programmer, you can build it too. And if you're a proficient programmer, you can do it quickly and efficiently. Companies nowadays charge an arm and a leg to build a simple application. We're talking $100+ per hour for a basic website.This is one of the major reasons that having a technical co-founder is important in bootstrapping a startup. Because otherwise you're going to require a high amount of funding before you even have a splash page ready to go.
I've personally never had to purchase any type of business software of 3rd party tool for my work. Almost everything that runs here is home-grown, straight from Zion itself. And if there's something that you don't know how to do, you pick up a book and you learn about it. The more you know, the less you become reliant on any external factors. And the more cash you get to keep in your pocket.
You're more aware around technology
If you ask my father to navigate to Google, then he'll eventually end up asking me to do it for him. Many people fall somewhere in that range of knowledge when it comes to technology. There's a mystery to this whole web thing. As a programmer, you can look at almost any website or app and off the bat have a relatively good idea as to how it works. And that comes with many benefits, such as keeping a more secure footprint online. Knowing how and why websites track your data and movements, might keep you from performing certain actions online. It's like being a forest guide (if that is a thing) leading a group of non foresty people. They know what not to eat and what to eat if they need to. They know who's been travelling in their area and for how long. It's more reassuring when your brain can spot these things without too much on your part.
You can work from anywhere
My main work machine nowadays is a 1.3 pound Surface 3 with all of the software installed that I need to run any project and to work on my daily CTO tasks for Renly. And then some. With a 64GB MicroSD and a 64GB USB drive plugged in, I have all of the power that I'm going to need for a while. It's a liberating feeling to be able to take all of your work in space no bigger than a large children's book. And everything else can be backed up on the cloud.
Once you get your environment up and running, you can technically work from any part of the world without a hiccup. For me personally, that has been a goal for some time. To be completely unplugged and mobile.
You can think on a grander scale
Technology is a somewhat difficult concept to comprehend. Because it looks so simple. We browse to a URL and we click to open an app without thinking too much about what that means. But if you're a programmer, you know exactly what that click does. You know exactly how that email got to its final home. And because of that, your horizon expands just a bit more. Now you have room for new ideas, because you can visualize them working more clearly. Now you can have those "that would be pretty cool" moments in your life and act upon them.
And these moments just pop out at you without you doing too much work. And the more you understand, the more you have them. You see the world through this weird digital filter, where any problem you see has a corresponding solution using technology.
And no, you won't enjoy these perks after a 10 week online course on HTML and CSS. Software Engineering is a lifelong endeavour that doesn't stop once you learn your first for loop. It's something that you continuously work on day in and day out and that grows with your experience. And it's fun. That's the most important one. It's incredibly fun to create something, both visually and functionally with a few well placed keywords and files. You can build something that can connect a million people all at once. Or you can build a game that makes a few hundred laugh. And all for the price of a few bits and bytes.
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.
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