Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Life after Coding. . .

There is indeed, life after coding, for me at least.

If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever let go of my ‘developer’ hat, move beyond coding and into another career line I know what my answer would have been. I would have told anyone who asked, “No thanks!” in no uncertain terms.

I’d centered my ‘worth’ in what people were willing to pay me to do, those of you who know me, know that’s been a common theme in my career… I reveled in jobs that had been deemed impossible, the proverbial “It can’t be done” scenario.

I made a nice living in the 80’s and into the mid-90’s doing exactly that for anyone willing to pay me to deliver what others had said couldn’t be done. I only stopped contracting, and that life, because a client had hired me to continue to build the impossible, and in the process get some job “stability”. (Which we now know was certainly a false sense of ‘stability’)

When that gig ended, I jumped back into contracting, eventually ending up where I am now as a result.

However, this time when they decided to make me a job offer, it wasn’t my programming, design or development skills they wanted. Nope, they were actually interested in my analysis skills. Those same skills I’ve been using to spot trends in data for 15 years or more, and to prove, or disprove what was often just a ‘gut feel’ of mine for the data.

I’ve been at it now for about six months, and the jury is in, I *like* not being a developer!

That revelation has been on my mind a lot lately... How can *I*, the guy who loved development, who lived to build things no one else would tackle, suddenly find myself on the outside, looking in, and not missing the development work?

How does that work exactly? How are we (or more specifically, am I) able to shift our primary feedback mechanism, alter our professional “raison d’être” without so much as a second thought?

I never really contemplated the change; I just knew I wanted to make a difference in this project so I accepted the challenge knowing it was a departure from what I’d known for the last 20+ years. Stepping firmly over the line, one I’d straddled fairly well I might add, that divides the ‘business’ folks, from the IT folks, onto the business side of the line.

So, here I sit, a coder, who’s no longer a coder, and what once was the reason I got out of bed in the morning, is no longer any real part of my day. Yet, I still get out of bed, and I still (maybe even more than ever) look forward to going to work… I can’t remember the last time that happened.

Wait, yes I can, it was December of 1994, then again in August of 1998... Then not again until October of 2004... in the interim, I hated the job... but I loved the work... and the people who developed with me... but, then again, it’s always been about the work, for me.

The life I loved was making software with my friends. . . .

More on all of this as my thoughts gel, I think I’m still to close in to the change to fairly observe what’s going on with me.

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