From when I started tinkering around with websites in high school through my freelance web work in college, I had absolutely no idea what kind of career creating things for the web would be. Actually, I was driven away from it for quite a while, thinking as per the general societal impression that it was a lame, boring, nerdy, and lonely career. Design and websites would just be a hobby, something cool I could do on the side of my legit and professional job, I thought.
But on my way through senior year, I thought long an hard about what kind of job I really wanted. I wanted something that I loved, that made me happy. Something that didn’t feel so much like work, but more like what I would want to do anyway even if I was unemployed or off work. And I realized that I had to go into web development, because regardless of what kind of career it is, I loved it. I did this stuff in my free time, over the summer, on vacations, whenever I finished my homework. I didn’t think of it as work, I thought of it as fun (which was why I did it whenever I had time).
Little did I know then how awesome of a job web development is, and that all my impressions and society’s impressions are straight up wrong. I have a fantastic job - it’s fun, active, social, and I’m doing really awesome things I love. And as technology starts to become more “sexy” of a field and successful startup after successful startup makes million or billion dollar exits, society’s view of web dev is quickly changing. Now, “learning to code” is one of the latest trends, a cool thing to do. Just learn to code and you can make millions, or billions like instagram! Right?
Well, sort of. All too often I see someone who is out to learn code just to get a foot in the startup world, for the percieved money and glamor. Of course, this happens regularly in other fields. I hear all the time from friends involved in finance and various other corporate fields how much they hate their job… but they get paid well, and society’s view is that you are successful. But it’s never worth it. We all learn this at some point - offers for lots money are super tempting, but all the money in the world cannot compete with your happiness, especially when we are talking about your happiness for 40+ hours a week. It’s even an age old saying: “money can’t buy happiness” - but nobody really believes it.
As the ever wise and sagacious Drizzy Drake once said, “YOLO” - you only live once. Don’t waste your life away doing things you don’t love. And that’s true for code as well. Just because I love code or the guys who created instagram love code does not mean that you will. Try it, by all means, because you might. I could go on for pages about all the things I love about code. But if it’s not something you enjoy learning, are really excited about, and are driven to work on… maybe it’s just not your thing, and that’s fine.
I know there has been a decent number of articles about how you should learn to code or not learn to code etc. recently, but I’d like to propose something different - forget code entirely and learn to love. The absolute most important thing is to find something that you genuinely love to do, then do that as much as humanly possible. You will naturally work hard at it, then being successful and rich because of it will just be a nice side benefit.