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How long can you be a developer

Akhshay Ray
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 11
Hello everybody,

First of all, this is an excellent forum and I really enjoy reading it.

I am a java developer with around 10yrs of experience in Upstate Newyork in a well established financial firm. Also, as of now, I am satisfied with my job.

But lately, I am concerned about my long term career prospects - I mean, I cannot be a developer for ever. What happens 10 years from now, because in US, I do not see much vertical career growth?

Do any of you feel the same - if so, please share your thoughts.

Thanks.
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
Some people have careers as developers. Most get on with some big company early in their career and stay on until they retire.
Saliya Jinadasa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 21, 2003
Posts: 49
Hi,

I have same sentiments about stuck in a developer position for a long period of time. It scares hell out of me After much deliberation on where I want to be in the next 5 to 10 years, I decided to pursue a career in Actuary. I have already taken the first step by starting part-time studies on it. Hopefully within the next 3-5 years I can make a move in to a new career as an Actuary.

Regards
Saliya
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Why can't you be a developer forever? What will happen to you?

Vertical career growth is not a goal in and of itself, but rather a means to get somewhere. Where do you want to go?

--Mark
Nandu Jawale
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2002
Posts: 22
Good topic. Most people think after working as programmer for 4-5 years that
they should be managing projects/people. I have also come across many of
these people those ask "Do you still write code?" kind of questions.
I have been with software industry for last 8 years, but I never felt like
I should stop coding. In fact I think coding is most challenging job and if
I become a "good" programmer, I have achived most of it.
In my previous company, the chief technology officer used to sit with us
and write code sometimes.
And most of all "Vertical career growth" is afterall depends on your performance and not number of years you have spent writing software.

Nandu
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 189
I think these days no one will be a developer for more than 5 years. It is a VERY demanding job to be in, and I think that I will run out of energy for this kind of thing within 3 years and I have only started.

Hopefully, before I burn out, I will have created some exelent software for my own business to use.
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
I think these days no one will be a developer for more than 5 years. It is a VERY demanding job to be in, and I think that I will run out of energy for this kind of thing within 3 years and I have only started.


I've been writing released code since 1988, and I've been doing it for a living since 1994. It's demanding, but I'm doing more than ever simply because I enjoy what I do.

Doctors don't work 36 hour shifts and other crazy hours just because they make tons of money (which they need to pay off their student loans!). Most of them only survive the grind because they truly enjoy what they do. That's an extreme example, but oftentimes very demanding and consuming jobs can be made a lot easier if you enjoy them and it doesn't seem like work.

I could never work as a professional chef - the hours are crazy and the pay by comparison stinks. Thousands of people do it for years because they love it.

Cheers!

Luke
Patrick van Zandbeek
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 17, 2005
Posts: 37
From what I've seen happen around me there are only 2 reasons people can't be developers for more than 5 years or so.

1)
They don't really like programming and only started it because they think it paves the way to management and bossing people around. They either burn out or move along, though mostly not towards management in IT but usually some other field of work, like chef maybe, then again , that sounds like too much work.

2)
People that don't have a clue about programming and will never really learn either. They just bluff their way through stuff, stealing and copying code left and right and moving from project to project leaving only ruin and disaster behind. After a few years of covering up and quickly moving around, people will understand how bad they really are so before that they move on. Ironically enough, they usually end up in IT management positions instead of the people in group 1)

The rest let's call them group 3) since we're numbering anyway, can happily program until their dying breath.

Then again, these are just silly ramblings of someone that's been programming for 20 years now, so maybe you can't really program for long and my brains have been fried...


u is a letter, not a word.
Jiang Xiaofeng
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 19, 2005
Posts: 25
Originally posted by Patrick van Zandbeek:
From what I've seen happen around me there are only 2 reasons people can't be developers for more than 5 years or so.

1)
They don't really like programming and only started it because they think it paves the way to management and bossing people around. They either burn out or move along, though mostly not towards management in IT but usually some other field of work, like chef maybe, then again , that sounds like too much work.

2)
People that don't have a clue about programming and will never really learn either. They just bluff their way through stuff, stealing and copying code left and right and moving from project to project leaving only ruin and disaster behind. After a few years of covering up and quickly moving around, people will understand how bad they really are so before that they move on. Ironically enough, they usually end up in IT management positions instead of the people in group 1)

The rest let's call them group 3) since we're numbering anyway, can happily program until their dying breath.

Then again, these are just silly ramblings of someone that's been programming for 20 years now, so maybe you can't really program for long and my brains have been fried...



What about people that enjoy programming but decide that being in a management position is more rewarding?

And how does group 3 even fit into your original statement of "reasons people can't be developers for more than 5 years or so."?
Ramesh Choudhary
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 10, 2005
Posts: 200
It depends on the scenario you are speaking about. If a person loves programming and has a penchant for few new things, he/she can continue in the developer position. If you are lucky and have some good contacts, you can write few books and get some fame.

If the 'development' involves zero-thought keyboard banging work, I bet you would not continue for even an year.
[ August 30, 2005: Message edited by: Ramesh Choudhary ]
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15951
    
  19

Originally posted by Homer Phillips:
Some people have careers as developers. Most get on with some big company early in their career and stay on until they retire.


Hmmm. Stuck in the '70s, are you? Around here, the average tenure with a big company seems to be about 2 years anymore. I logged 13. Then they canned me.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Ah, sadly,
after 4 years being developer, I got to manage a project.
I don't get time to do any work, and spend hours on meetings listening to fights between users.
It is good to be involved in something new, but I don't feel productive.
I'm writing reports and making presentaions in ppt, but that's not my job.
I'm waiting for the project to end so I can get back to development and learn more.


If to grow, I would probably want to be a teacher in university sometime after 10-15 years, not manager.
Ramesh Choudhary
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 10, 2005
Posts: 200
People that don't have a clue about programming and will never really learn either

Programming is as easy as learning to ride a car. And you do not require a license to be a programmer .
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Originally posted by Ramesh Choudhary:

Programming is as easy as learning to ride a car.


It took me 3 days to learn to drive. In 1 year I was a pro.

I'm learning software development for last 13 years, and I'm still far from being really good at it.
Homer Phillips
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 311
Why can't you be a developer forever? What will happen to you?

One day, at the bottom of the business cycle, you find out you don't have enough experience. You say, what do you mean - I've been doing this for twenty years. They say well you have to have two years of A & B & C & D. You only have A & B & G .. Z.

You might get a job as a technical writer or a car salesman.

I've seen people strech things by moving all over the country working as contractors. But it's not a pretty life.
 
With a little knowledge, a cast iron skillet is non-stick and lasts a lifetime.
 
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