Perhaps a bit cliché, but money isn’t everything. It’s certainly not worth sacrificing your health or your happiness in its pursuit.
These days it can be a common feeling to equate wealth with worth, and money with success. I find it’s much more important to enjoy what you spend your time doing. Do it well and you’ll likely be rewarded. Most often the reward is in the form of financial compensation, but it can also be in the form of personal satisfaction.
Do what you love
I connected with computers at an young age. Giving a computer a set of commands and watching it do as instructed gave me great joy in my early years. As the programs became more and more complicated and the problems that needed to be solved became more elaborate, the feeling of satisfaction with a job well done became greater and greater. Seeing and utilizing patterns to solve complex problems is an almost magical experience.
Love what you do
I probably wouldn’t be working with computers if I didn’t truly enjoy the work. I certainly wouldn’t be a developer if I didn’t love the challenge. I’ve got quite a few hobbies that, given enough focus and effort could probably be monetized, but I’m not sure would be nearly as enjoyable.
Many would caution that trying to make a living with a hobby would cause the hobby to be less enjoyable. Luckily, this has not proven to be the case with programming in my life. Quite the contrary. The more my career advances, the more enjoyable custom web development is for me.
Find what motivates you
Working with business systems and providing a good user experience has been my main professional motivation for most of my career. I really enjoy the opportunity to help a company save money and increase their sales or profitability. Receiving positive feedback from clients and users regarding the overall user experience is quite rewarding.
The industry continues to grow with new languages, new feature sets, and new challenges. Staying up-to-date with the latest and greatest may overwhelm some. However, I find that this is part of what helps keep it fresh and new in my eyes.
Above all else, have fun
There may be times of struggle. You may have to make the most of an imperfect situation from time to time. But, set your sights on your goals, and use each experience as a learning opportunity. And don’t forget, we all had to start somewhere. If you’re just starting out, learn all that you can. Choose your path well and adjust course as needed.
A Microsoft MVP, John has been a professional developer since 1999. He has focused primarily on web technologies and has experience with everything from PHP to C# to ReactJS to SignalR. Clean code and professionalism are particularly important to him, as well as mentoring and teaching others what he has learned along the way.