The Downsides of Being a Coder

jakester318

Sparrow
When I started seeing coding boot-camps pop up and coding training aimed at young girls predominantly, it seemed odd. You've confirmed the concept that this field of work has been infiltrated by leftist propagandizers. What I don't understand is why coding? Must be some reason behind it. Maybe because it's STEM related but doesn't require much extensive math training.

I think there's a happy medium for people with coding skills and that is to be a developer that sits on the business side. But traditionally, coders carry the stereotype of being misanthropes, preferring isolation and a 12-pack of Mountain Dew, coding until the wee hours of the morning and living in coding bliss and not interacting with world. Perhaps in your case, it's not that coding itself is bad, you might be realizing that it's not for you anymore. Like many of us, as you grow and progress, sometimes you have to put on new clothes and put off old clothes. What you used to wear no longer fits, brother, and maybe it is time to take inventory of your life and figure out what your act 3 looks like. Nothing wrong with that. I'm in that situation myself right now and its not uncommon for people to change careers several times in their lifetime. I'm essentially still on my 2nd career path and perhaps I'm moving on to my 3rd.
 

JiggyLordJr

Kingfisher
Well said FullThrottle. I’m currently studying to work with data, not sure just yet how much of that will involve coding.

Many of the same things you mentioned apply regardless. Sitting behind a screen all day. Not talking to anyone for hours. Having to participate in autist retard tech culture. And so on.

Working a tech job is great for your wallet but bad for your social life. After spending brain power on coding I feel depleted at the end of the workday. Is there any way to truly strike a balance in this industry? Or should I put my degree in my back pocket and go tradie/agricultural/entrepreneurial?
 

FullThrottleTX

Woodpecker
Well said FullThrottle. I’m currently studying to work with data, not sure just yet how much of that will involve coding.

Many of the same things you mentioned apply regardless. Sitting behind a screen all day. Not talking to anyone for hours. Having to participate in autist retard tech culture. And so on.

Working a tech job is great for your wallet but bad for your social life. After spending brain power on coding I feel depleted at the end of the workday. Is there any way to truly strike a balance in this industry? Or should I put my degree in my back pocket and go tradie/agricultural/entrepreneurial?

Thanks! I'd stick with it unless you're debt free and have some kind of alternative game plan.
Just keep your eyes on the prize, bank the cash and get out when you're a little older. Don't stay too long.

When I started seeing coding boot-camps pop up and coding training aimed at young girls predominantly, it seemed odd. You've confirmed the concept that this field of work has been infiltrated by leftist propagandizers. What I don't understand is why coding? Must be some reason behind it. Maybe because it's STEM related but doesn't require much extensive math training.

I think there's a happy medium for people with coding skills and that is to be a developer that sits on the business side. But traditionally, coders carry the stereotype of being misanthropes, preferring isolation and a 12-pack of Mountain Dew, coding until the wee hours of the morning and living in coding bliss and not interacting with world. Perhaps in your case, it's not that coding itself is bad, you might be realizing that it's not for you anymore. Like many of us, as you grow and progress, sometimes you have to put on new clothes and put off old clothes. What you used to wear no longer fits, brother, and maybe it is time to take inventory of your life and figure out what your act 3 looks like. Nothing wrong with that. I'm in that situation myself right now and its not uncommon for people to change careers several times in their lifetime. I'm essentially still on my 2nd career path and perhaps I'm moving on to my 3rd.

Yeah, I'm not necessarily trying to dissuade younger people from coding, I just think there needs to be an exit strategy from corporate America after your financial house is in order. I'm at that point.

Tech is the fulcrum of change in society right now and it makes sense they'd push initiatives there.
 

kel

Pelican
8) Engineers get laid off first. Engineers are an expensive line item so they're often the first to go.

I mostly agree with your post, except this. Only if you're extremely niche and people all kinda know that you're a bullshitter will this be true. Yes, I'm the most expensive person at my job, but I'm also the most valuable. I will never be laid off, without me the company simply can not exist, the only way I'm losing this job is if I start being useless or if the company goes under.
 

paninaro

Kingfisher
I mostly agree with your post, except this. Only if you're extremely niche and people all kinda know that you're a bullshitter will this be true. Yes, I'm the most expensive person at my job, but I'm also the most valuable. I will never be laid off, without me the company simply can not exist, the only way I'm losing this job is if I start being useless or if the company goes under.

I agree. I was working at a tech company some years ago when their numbers were really down and they lost a big investor. Every department had headcount slashed except the software development side. Those were the people making the product that made the money. Without them, you have nothing to sell.
 

FullThrottleTX

Woodpecker
I agree. I was working at a tech company some years ago when their numbers were really down and they lost a big investor. Every department had headcount slashed except the software development side. Those were the people making the product that made the money. Without them, you have nothing to sell.

It's happened at companies I've worked for twice.
You can definitely slim down a software department. You can also outsource it. Both have happened...

You're right engineering is important, but that doesn't mean YOUR job is safe.
 
It's happened at companies I've worked for twice.
You can definitely slim down a software department. You can also outsource it. Both have happened...

You're right engineering is important, but that doesn't mean YOUR job is safe.
Anything is possible when your executive class has the technical understanding of a golden retriever.

I have a friend who worked for marketing company at the beginning of the year. He was hired into an analytics role. The companies whole business model was selling tickets to events propped up by the cannabis industry, and relied on the automated mailing lists and backend infrastructure of their website. When the lockdowns were implemented the company took the government handouts and furloughed ~75% of their IT, web dev, and analytics positions keeping mostly the technical manager types who interfaced well with the female marketing VPs. My favorite little tidbit was how they guillotined the sole dev who handled the entire backend for their ecommerce sales, but kept most of the marketing people who work in Tableau/VBA.
 

ginsu

Woodpecker
Start transitioning into working for yourself, you will be forced to learn every other business skill that you can't while just pushing buttons for your bosses. Then later on you can hire someone else to do the coding while you manage your business/projects/clients/marketing.
 

kel

Pelican
There's really not. The demand for what I do far far outstrips the supply and is growing. Even if China starts directing kids into my niche it'll be a decade before they've put a dent in that and in any event, they don't do the same job, I do a far better job. Not trying to sound full of myself, just simple reality. It didn't happen by accident, I've been setting this up for years. There is no one in China who can compete with me by undercutting me on price because all my true peers - Chinese, Indian, or other - are commanding the same salary I am because that's what quality costs.

People who don't feel that kind of security should look into why that is and make sure they're striking the right balance. There's nothing wrong with being a code monkey, any more than there's something wrong with working any other clock-in-clock-out job that you just do because it pays the bills and the rest of your life is more important to you. But the dangers of being a code monkey - or being a trend chaser who's a "big data specialist" in 2010 and now a "machine learning specialist" and in five years and "next hype specialist bullshitter" - are not equally distributed throughout the industry.

The most realistic scenario for me getting "laid off" is mass chaos, a collapse in the structure of society that leads to mass closure of businesses across the board, which as I've said elsewhere is in fact something I'm thinking is pretty likely, though even then what I do has value to the oligarch class that will continue to rule (though my plan is to have gotten the fuck outta dodge by that point).
 

FullThrottleTX

Woodpecker
Start transitioning into working for yourself, you will be forced to learn every other business skill that you can't while just pushing buttons for your bosses. Then later on you can hire someone else to do the coding while you manage your business/projects/clients/marketing.

I do think if you're younger and motivated, the approach you're suggesting is the way to go. If I was in college, I'd try to build a freelancing business on the side so by the time I get out I wouldn't have to find a job. Definitely this is a good idea for those of you young guys who can afford to work for not much for a year or two as it scales up.

For me personally, freelancing is a big pay cut. And while I could eventually build a client business that dwarfs my full-time job in earnings, the effort and hustle of that doesn't really interest me. I'd rather put my energies into creative pursuits that earn me a passive income.

Again, I have a friend doing what you're suggesting, and he's doing pretty well at it. But he started it after his 2nd layoff, so he really had no choice.

If you are so smart and irreplaceable, why are you still employed?
Why not become an entrepreneur yourself?

I think the two are unrelated. To be a great engineer, you have to have strong domain knowledge. You can't know everything and be a jack of all trades like you need to be as an entreprenuer. I would say they're inversely proportional. The better coders do better in corporate environment, the crappier coders are better on their own. I'm somewhere in the middle. I could go either way.

Better coders are also choosier with the tech and projects they work on, and most entry level freelancing work is Wix, Wordpress, Magento, Shopify: coders who love what they do don't want to work on these platforms. To work on the latest technologies, startups and corporate America are the way to go.

People who don't feel that kind of security should look into why that is and make sure they're striking the right balance. There's nothing wrong with being a code monkey, any more than there's something wrong with working any other clock-in-clock-out job that you just do because it pays the bills and the rest of your life is more important to you.

At this point, coding just pays the bills for me, which is why I'm trying to do something completely unrelated.
 

kel

Pelican
I do own a decent share of the company, and occasionally have to do business-like things or at least interact with business/financial people and sell them on our technology.

To answer your question, though, they're different skillsets. Someone who's talented in one area is best off using their talents in that area and partnering with someone else who's talented at other stuff that feeds into it. If you can put a few hours of work in a week and be 100% independent and save the overhead, fine, but anything beyond that probably doesn't make sense. Every second I would spend poking around in Quickbooks is a second wasted from what I am particularly good at that that gives me the edge. I leave accounting, social media, etc. to other people at the company (or third-party services) who can focus on that.

"If you're so smart and irreplaceable, why not become a hedge fund manager/Hollywood orthodontist/drug smuggler/whatever?" Well, because that's not what I do.
 
I will say between startups and big companies, I prefer startups.
I'm a "get it done" kinda guy, and that will be rewarded more in a startup.

I understand why actual startups might suck, because most startups fail and so you risk working for a loser (management).

I was thinking more of small to medium businesses who are beyond the survival phase and more in a consolidation phase with steady, but stable, growth. These have always been the best for me.
 

redbeard

Hummingbird
Moderator
I understand why actual startups might suck, because most startups fail and so you risk working for a loser (management).

I was thinking more of small to medium businesses who are beyond the survival phase and more in a consolidation phase with steady, but stable, growth. These have always been the best for me.
How many employees do you think is the "sweet spot" between bootstrapped, garage startup and reliable, publicly-traded corporation?
 
How many employees do you think is the "sweet spot" between bootstrapped, garage startup and reliable, publicly-traded corporation?

Good question!

I can only say that I've had great experiences with 20-30 employee businesses. That's an established business usually, you have your accounting, your coding, your management, your sales, your project management, but you also know everyone and you can quickly rise in the hierarchy and you can make friends and alliances with people outside your department. Lets say each department is 4-5 people. With usual turnover of staff in fast paced business, in 1-2 years, you should be able to compete for department senior position and from there, you're good in terms of career options.

I got in both businesses when they were past the bootstrap phase, but before going public, which if timing was better, I could have cashed in on that with employee stock options.
 
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