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Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

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Alternate Career Paths: If You Weren’t A Coder or Developer, What Would You Be Instead?

It's always fun to imagine what our lives would be like if we had made different choices. So, if you weren't a coder or a developer, what would you be instead? A chef, a musician, a veterinarian? Are there opportunities to incorporate your alternate passions into coding career?

Let's hear from you all! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Top comments (35)

darkwiiplayer profile image
𒎏Wii 🏳️‍⚧️

In a realistic scenario, dunno, I might just be screwed to be honest.

But in a fantasy world where things just work out, I sure would enjoy mixing cocktails and making coffee/tea for a living.

In fact, if I ever won the lottery, opening a cafe and operating at a loss would probably be my way of blowing through the money 😅

simplycomplexable profile image
Zack Sunderland

Depending on the lottery you could probably just give away drinks and still not blow through the money.

besworks profile image

When you're a programmer at heart, all career paths eventually lead to code. I've had multiple non-developer jobs over the years where I ended up writing tools to get the work more efficiently.

I'm actually doing this right now. Freelancing just wasn't cutting it to pay the bills so I had to take a non-technical job recently and the daily process needs some serious fine tuning. We're using a clunky, outdated mobile app where I tediously have to scroll and scroll and scroll past useless options to find the same few checkboxes for every unit I handle. So I'm working on a revamped app in my spare time that I'm gonna pitch to the boss when it's a little farther along.

This is one of those 50 times per day tasks that could have multiple minutes shaved off each iteration, so definitely worth the effort. Not every task necessarily needs optimizing though. Always a good idea to consult the "Is It Worth The Time" chart from xkcd before getting into a project like that.

is it worth the time

askeridos profile image

Towards the end of my training on Symfony 4.8 and Java 8, I skipped class because I was tired of sitting with my ass on the chair for 8 hours straight in front of a screen. I told myself that this was not a life.

I am a pastry baker.

I have a lot more satisfaction doing manual work, feeling a sense of accomplishment and feeling good tiredness at the end of the day, even with a lower salary, within a close-knit team and with a great atmosphere. I work in an association that serves breakfast and desserts (in addition to the restaurant and banquets) for the homeless.

I still code at home, but there's still an energy at work that you can't find behind a desk.

sarahokolo profile image
sahra 💫

Would probably be an SFX makeup artist.

dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

snowboard instructor!

cosjay profile image

A magician.

I dropped out of school after the 8th grade to perform, did that until my early 20s and then discovered computers. Everything after that was code. But now, at 60 years old and with a serious health issue, I regret ever getting out of performing. I've done well as a programmer and have enjoyed it, but _I'd rather have memories of magic than of sitting in a chair typing. _

(Reading that back it sounds at least mildly depressing but I hope someone can use it as encouragement -- if you're not doing your "dream job" now, try and make it happen sooner rather than later.)

kuerbisulme profile image
Simon • Edited

My alternative was studying psychology. I did not intend to become a therapist, but
especially back in school I liked trying to analyze people and predicting their behaviour. When my friend started studying psychology I learnt that it is a really wide field with a lots of statistic. So I think if I had chosen psychology I nevertheless would have ended up with a "kind of programming" job putting data in a statistic software, writing scripts and analyzing that stuff :D

adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

Own a garden centre.
Run a charity for disabled children.
Lego master builder!
Engineer (bridges and stuff)

raibtoffoletto profile image
Raí B. Toffoletto

Definetly my original training: Music, teach and playing.

Although I love being a developer, it was always my second passion and I'm glad I could make a career of it!

feranmiodugbemi profile image

I'd play football

cooty profile image
Cooty • Edited

Really interested in cyber security lately. For now I'm just listening to all kind of podcasts (DarkNet Diaries is a good one, that got me hooked on the whole infosec space...) and marvel at all the clever ways people hack into networks and the astonishing stories of cyber-heists, scams and nation-state-actors.

I don't see myself reverse-engineering malware from byte-code (would leave that to smarter and more patient folks), but I could imagine myself doing pentesting, social engineering, open source intelligence collection or even testing physical security (ie.: breaking into places and tricking security guards). Of course all it strictly on the White Hat side :D

I also think this is one of the few things worth doing in IT. Protecting a companies assets from criminals or even a countries infrastructure is creating much bigger value then working to create the n-th VC founded ponzi-scheme or marketing landing page.

jimsy profile image
James Harton

When I was in high school (way back in the 90’s) I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer but I was always way too lazy to actually apply myself and would never have made it through an engineering degree. I fell into software and it’s worked out okay. If I could do it again with hindsight I think I’d like to be a machinist.

mistval profile image

Park ranger! I try to get out hiking every weekend, and camp sometimes too. When I see problems like branches across the trail, or especially trash, I clean it up if I can, and sometimes I think: wouldn't it be nice if this were my job? Just out there building trails, teaching survival workshops, stuff like that.

I love building software but the more I do it the more I dream about really disconnecting and getting away from screens and keyboards, at least for a while.

Sometimes I imagine it would be nice to be a truck driver, but I don't trust myself behind the wheel of one of those things.

But probably by most secret and lurid dream is to become a DJ and produce trance music and performs at clubs, that sure looks fun!

dougmckechie profile image
Douglas McKechie

I very much enjoyed technical drawing at high school, so for a while I thought I might become an architect. The tech drawing was on paper with drawing boards, rulers and pencils, but no doubt would have transitioned in to CAD and 3D modelling.

Another favorite subject of mine was photography. Back then this was black-and-white film photography as digital cameras were just coming in. So I did think about becoming a photographer. In the end I decided that working in IT probably pays better and to keep the photography as a hobby.

krlz profile image

Drone farmer, drones for crop monitoring, and implementing automated systems for watering and fertilizing the land!