How Programming Becomes a Hobby Rather Than a Mere Profession

Programming is a profitable profession so many choose this path for their career. However, as with any profession, if you don’t like what you are doing, that is – if your job is not also your hobby, you are not satisfied with it. And perhaps you don’t become very good at it. Well, of course it is not all black and white. Job satisfaction and programming skill are all over the scale, but if it is your hobby, you are generally more satisfied when programming.

So how does it turn out that it’s hobby for some and just a mere profession for others? My claim is that it depends on how you started. If you started at home, pre-university and you ‘hacked your way through’, and you liked it, then you’re of the first kind. As Mark Zuckerberg said “someone might build something because they like building things.”

But if you go to university with absolutely no idea of programming (or a vague idea, gained from some rudimentary school exercises), then the scenario is a bit different. And that’s psychology. In university they force you (more or less) to build things. Useless things mostly. And assignments are due in 2 days. So that introduces stress – you don’t understand something, yet you are supposed to do it, otherwise you may fail a course. Even if in the end you gain the desired skills, it is not your hobby – you have been forced to do it.

Of course, there is the possibility that you happen to be so good that it becomes your hobby in university. But I believe these are exceptions.

And then comes the job seeking. And most often you are asked to know things that you didn’t learn in university. Some industry-standard frameworks that became industry standards after the curriculum was last updated. And there’s more stress.

So this stress makes the difference. IMHO.

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