Are You Really Prepared To Be A Full-Time Software Developer?

My experience is mostly confined to games development, but it's also the industry where the term "developer" is at its most nebulous. Are you a designer? An artist? A programmer? If you have a good idea which part of the pie you want to be involved in and it turns out to be the career of a coder, you should be aware of what you're getting yourself into before plunging head-long into it.

Image: / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Former YouTube developer Jess MacQueen put together a checklist for VentureBeat, which covers six topics you should be comfortable with before deciding that development — specifically coding — is the right career for you.

While MacQueen raises a number of solid points, it's her first one that I agree with unreservedly:

Make sure you actually like programming Then you finally fix the bug you meant to fix, and it’s taken you eight hours to write 15 lines of code. Don’t get me wrong: Finally fixing a bug like that is one of the best feelings ever, but I think a lot of beginners are shocked by how frustrating programming can sometimes be.

If you think you’ll be happy with 30 seconds of euphoria after several hours of struggle, then engineering is probably for you.

Coding can be gruelling at times, whether it's struggling with an unknown API, ambitious milestones or even humble Heisenbugs. It's definitely a great feeling not only to solve a tricky problem or implement a feature well, but the best part is seeing your work out in the wild, doing whatever it was designed to do.

Teaching yourself is also a big one — with the pace at which languages and libraries evolve, you can't rely on what you've been told to stay on top of it all. If you're not willing to dive into unfamiliar territory and make mistakes, you're going to hate development.

Before you quit your job to become a developer, go down this 6-point checklist [VentureBeat]


    The other thing that is rewarding for me is creating something from nothing. Going from a design spec right through to the end of development is a great achievement.

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