Are you glad you became a programmer?

One of the best decisions I ever made.

Is is “what I thought it would be”? I don’t know. Because I had no idea what to expect. (I did my first programming on the job; I started before there was much opportunity to do it on your own.)

I have done projects at over 80 companies. I have gotten involved in almost every aspect of the business. I have travelled all over the country, met many interesting people (and friends for life), and have constantly been learning and doing. Oh, and I have earned far more than most of the people I have ever worked with. It wasn’t unusual for me to be earning more than my supervisor and much more than my users.

I have done lots of work on my own and have taken lots of time off between gigs.

Sure, there have been lots of negatives. I’ve even thought of leaving IT and doing something else. I know many who have. But then I think about it and realize that “this” is what I still really want to do.

There have been horrible working conditions, unreasonable people, terrible projects, long commutes, and worst of all, boredom and disapproval on someone else’s project. But instead of whining, I always did something about it. I either fixed what was broken for me or moved on.

Because of modern technology and lifestyle, I am more excited about being a programmer than ever before. I don’t want to sound like an old timer, but I clearly remember how hard it used to be to get good. I had to go to expensive seminars or to one of the half dozen good technical bookstores in the U.S. My first computer cost $6000 (double that today). Now with cheap hardware, google, downloadable environments, on-line forums, and Borders around the corner, everything is so easy! I just can’t get enough.

For someone even mildly interested in programming, I would say, “Go for it!” Get a job and play around on your own. Learn as much as you can, technical and business, and if you don’t like where it’s heading, find a way to make it work for you. Give it a chance. I’m sure glad that I did.