Money Oriented Programmers

Programmers who only entered the programming profession because it pays well, who engage in MoneyOrientedProgramming--and would just as likely pursue another profession were that to become more lucrative.

For some, MoneyOrientedProgrammers are to be scorned; they believe that programming is a craft/art similar to music--and that professionalism requires a dedication to the craft that only a love for the craft can engender. (Virtually all professional musicians have a love for music, for example--though it is speculated that if being able to play an instrument well guaranteed a salary above $50k/year, with six figures not uncommon, we would see MoneyOrientedMusicians? showing up and performing at weddings and recording sessions).

For others, professionalism doesn't require a love of the subject matter; programming is like accounting or numerous other professions where "it's just a job"--and it is entirly possible for someone to do the job well without having a "love" for it. After all, how many accountants "love" accounting, and do people's taxes on their spare time as a hobby. :)

My real problem is that I am drained enough by my work that I have zero motivation to write software at home. I'm not sure I would anyway as the skills I possess are far better suited to writing a payroll application rather than a pc game. What I do do at home is put together machines, mess with different OS's, and play games, so maybe I do just program for money...

Hmmm ... I've seen this pattern before ... oh yes, the medical profession. MoneyOrientedDoctors?, MoneyOrientedDentists?, MoneyOrientedSurgeons?, and so on. I've had several instances of a conversation with some medical professional that goes: The story varies little. The guy wanted to live in a big house and drive a Mercedes, so be became [CareerField?]. It cost him so much to get started (school, premises, equipment, staff), and the time requirement to maintain the cash flow is so tightly bound to his personal effort, that he can't get out.

I don't get to program much for my own ends any more, but at least I have a fundamental love of what it is I do.

I am the guy who is too tired above: I am not in debt, I owe less than 15k on my college education (which I payed for myself), I drive a 2000 Escort ZX2 (which is turning into a beater more and more every day). My only true resource drain is my wife who seems to have the uniquely female ability to turn money into thin air. I could fix that by simply not making it and cancelling all the credit cards (which have low limits anyway, by design). I guess all this is a way of saying, I am not 'stuck' in my lifestyle. I won't say that programming doesn't offer my family the chance to have my wife at home with our child, it does. I picked software because I thought it was a reasonable profession with which I could support a family, I had an aptitude for it, and I liked it. I am not sure the last applies so much anymore as I find no energy to "like it." Thus the complaint in the previous post.

Overall I'd have to say you are pigeonholing in this comment and while it may apply to some (heck maybe even many) I know I can't be the only exception (and there certainly must be better exceptions than me).

You're not the only exception, you're close to the general rule. When I was in university I hung out with a crowd that regarded computers as a passion, not just a degree program and eventual job, and it was a striking contrast with the rest of the people in the program, who each said (I'm nosey, and asked around a lot) they were doing it either (1) because their parents insisted they get some kind of engineering degree, which they disliked, but they disliked CS less than other areas, (2) because they thought it would yield a well-paying job, (3) at random because they couldn't think of anything better, or (4) some combination of those.

The people who regarded it that way thought that our little group was insane for programming when we didn't have to, and they outnumbered us about 20 to 1.

However, methinks thou dost protest too much, to misquote Hamlet, as evidenced by your appearance here on wiki.

PaulGraham has something interesting to say on this topic at

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