Building software is great

…even if some days working in corporations or under unwanted pressure makes it considerably less fun.

I also just don’t especially want to stop thinking about code. I don’t want to stop writing sentences in my own voice. I get a lot of joy from craft. It’s not a universal attitude toward work – from what I can tell, Gen Z is much more anti-work and ready to automate away their jobs – but I’ve always been thankful that programming is a craft that pays a good living wage. I’d be a luthier, photographer, or, who knows, if those jobs were as viable and available. But programming lets you write and think all day. Writing, both code and prose, for me, is both an end product and an end in itself. I don’t want to automate away the things that give me joy.

– Tom MacWright, The One About AI

What a great distillation of what makes working on software great! It’s an opportunity to think all day, earning a good wage doing so. Sometimes, to make something of value. Even more rarely, to make something of lasting value. Most of all, to be challenged every day. On the good days, it’s the future we were promised!

Other days, it’s a bit much. Corporations and all their baggage will get ya down. Deadlines, communication, coordination are how one makes big things, but they have their drawbacks. They (can) drain all the energy and excitement of making something.

There are jobs that sound exciting from the outside or on paper. Driving race cars and being around motorsport, sounds exciting! But it’s probably a lot of toil, intense competition, and very little invention. Imagineering at Disney is likely immensely rewarding when an idea makes it all the way to the real world or a theme park, every several years. Between those years, it’s likely equal amounts of frustration and the friction of working at a giant company.

So, for me, building software it is. Even on the days when deadlines and coordination have got me down. Thinking them through to put a bit of the magic of software into the world, it balances out.

Adam Keys @therealadam