Why I Decided to Learn Software Development

Posted by mtrussell on April 29, 2017

Building Stuff

“It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.” -Julius Caesar

I love to build stuff.

From the tangible: a backyard patio, a squat rack made from 4x4s and cement, skateboard ramps, a new kind of pull up trainer, or a really cool meal (maybe something from Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry” cookbook).

To the slightly less tangible: short stories, films, and photos.

Lessons Learned

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” -Bill Moyers

I love the act of creating things, and I love the lessons that can be learned only by making something new. Sometimes Often these lessons are hard learned, but you always come out of it feeling more accomplished and having a greater self worth. You feel useful.

Then when you go to create something completely unrelated you find a plethora of surprising parallels that you had no idea existed. Like how orginizational practices of commercial kitchens are similar to those of a dev team. And because of those parallels you find yourself being useful quicker than you expected. And you are equipped with a unique perspective.

A Need for Speed (Building)

“Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering.” -Bill Gates

The speed and agility at which one can prototype a piece of software is unlike anything else. You can mock up and build a simple web app in an afternoon. You can also mock up and build a new lightbulb in an afternoon (If you’re Thomas Edison, of course, who tested an average of 4 different lightbulbs a day over a span of 2 years). The difference is that if you need to make a change to the lightbulb tomorrow you have to create a whole new lightbulb with the new change built in. With you web app you just add or delete a few lines of code.

Not to mention the ability to share your creation with a hundred million people as easily as if you were to share it with only one other person. This is because software is just a recipe that somebody’s computer cooks up for them. You’re not making 100,000,000 lightbulbs, just giving people a plan so they can build it for themselves.

Plenty of Gigs

“Qualified software engineers, managers, marketers and salespeople in Silicon Valley can rack up dozens of high-paying, high-upside job offers any time they want, while national unemployment and underemployment is sky high.” -Mark Andreessen

I think the quote does a good job of summing up my point. There are so many high paying positions that it makes it completely illogical for somebody who likes to tinker and build things to not have a foundation in tech development.

It’s Fun

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” -Pelé

And frusterating. But mostly fun. Especially when you get something to work right that’s been driving you to smash your head against the keyboard for most of the morning. Just like how I still doodle on napkins and sing in the shower even though my work is no longer in the Louvre and I lost my recording deal, I will likely forever continue to code no matter where life’s journey may take me. Why? Because I dig it.