On Working As a Developer Only For a Paycheck

Why is it that when it comes to computer programming, everyone completely warns against doing it for the money?

What Is Software Engineering Anyway?

Software development has been continuously hyped, praised, promoted by media for various reasons – high salaries and increasing demand being the primary ones. Some of the most valued companies out there are in the tech field as well. Some of the richest people in the world happen to come from a programming background, too.

It also tends to be more accessible in terms of remote working opportunities, lack of degree requirements, freelance opportunities, and lucrative job perks.

Peaking Interest In Computer Programming

This is exactly why the percentage of people enrolling in programming courses and switching to the IT field is drastically higher than any other field out there. Despite the fact that legal jobs, marketing gigs, medical professions, financial opportunities may very well be just as well paid (if not better).

Now imagine yourself being a passionate developer in a team of 10 geeks. Your hiring manager schedules 50 interviews looking for 5 new recruits. And you end up with 5 fresh colleagues who couldn’t care less about the craft and shake the entire work culture at the office.

On top of that, you tend to organize meetups with your colleagues, attend 3–4 technical conferences every year, share tutorials and industry news on Slack. You see the disconnect between your tech circle and the new hires.

Geek-Driven Organizations

It could be demoralizing and is one of the main reasons why people are so attracted to companies like Google, Netflix, and Facebook, known for their internal tech communities.

The software development field is evergrowing. New frameworks, libraries, technologies, software updates and tools pop up all the freaking time. It evolves much more rapidly than most fields out there.

A professional developer is most likely going to spend a good chunk of their time studying and conducting R&D. It’s not the type of job that you can study at the university, spend 2–3 years mastering and do for the rest of your life. Without intrinsic motivation and actual joy in building software applications, you’ll end up being stressed out, dissatisfied, and pressured by the job requirements.

Of Course, Money Matters

Yes, a lot of software developers are highly motivated by the salary. But, that does not mean that they do it solely for the paycheck. They may be ambivalent or generally chill about doing their day-to-day, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about their craft.

Software development would still be in the top 5 (or top 3) of the jobs they would pick with their skill set if the pay was equal.

It would still be a viable alternative – even if it’s not their number one life goal.

But diving into software development with zero motivation and only for the paycheck? That’s a recipe for disaster in the long run.