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Michael Tharrington for The DEV Team

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Discussion of the Week: "Money or Passion?"

In this weekly roundup, we highlight what we believe to be the most thoughtful, helpful, and/or interesting discussion over the past week! Though we are strong believers in healthy and respectful debate, we typically try to choose discussions that are positive and avoid those that are overly contentious.

Any folks whose articles we feature here will be rewarded with our Discussion of the Week badge. ✨

The Discussion of the Week badge. It includes a roll of thread inside a speech bubble. The thread is a reference to comment threads.

Now that y'all understand the flow, let's go! πŸƒπŸ’¨

The Discussion of the Week

We're back with another excellent discussion! @mcharytoniuk initiated "Money or Passion?" encouraging folks to talk about which one is a bigger driver behind their decision to work in software development.

Mateusz opens the discussion mentioning that though it may be a bit provocative, it's meant to be taken genuinely β€” I appreciated that self-awareness about starting up a topic that might trigger some hot takes. πŸ”₯

They expand on this notion by driving home the point that they're really hoping to learn more about what motivates developers to get a career in this industry, noting that the job market is particularly grim right now for juniors and suggesting that things may worsen for mid- to senior-level devs next.

Mateusz even offers an anonymous poll hosted on Reddit here for those who want to answer but would prefer to keep their response incognito.

As with most discussions, the real interesting bits occur in the comments section. πŸ™‚

@lnahrf weighs in, explaining how they were encouraged by those around them to join the industry... they also respectfully push back against the idea of salaries dropping for senior devs in this thoughtful comment:

Provocative maybe - but a genuine question.
In my case, life somehow pushed me to be a programmer, old bosses at work and people around me told me that I should get a degree in CS (never had any meaning to before they did). I never actually got a degree but I did spend a couple of years learning mostly by myself, and somehow (almost as if by pure luck) got to where I am today.

I truly believe that this industry is tough (I will explain).
Yes, we get paid quite well, but we work unreasonable hours, we sit down at the computer for 9-12 hours a day, we handle toxic clients, coworkers, managers. We then go home to try and enjoy whatever is left of our day, just to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. While this criticism might be directed at our societal structure as a whole and not specifically at the tech industry, the industry does shine a bright light on everything that is wrong with the societal work structure.

That is why I don't think anyone who is working in this industry solely for the money will remain in this industry for too long. In order to work as a programmer - you have to love programming. If you don't LOVE programming - you won't remain a professional programmer. Passion is the answer all the way.

Ask yourself - is programming something I'd do even without the money? My answer is probably - if the need for a specific tool arises and there is no solution - I'd make one.

Your point about salaries dropping is completely wrong. Salaries might drop for Juniors and average-level developers because the market is saturated. Senior and highly technical developers will keep making more and more as time goes on.

My bottom line is - as of right now, I have no reason to search or switch to a different profession. If programming will become obsolete (it won't) or if I will get so tired of interacting with others in this industry - I will probably switch to being a personal chef or an author, or a farmer (probably farmer, honestly).

There are plenty of folks on both sides of the money/passion argument making a case for what's most important to them β€” no wrong answers here!

Gotta appreciate @chaoocharles' honesty in the following response:

Money πŸ˜‚ If I had lot's of money for sure I wouldn't write code. would be more of a gamer and stressing about quests instead of bugs. But after coding for a long time it's now like a passion, i have fun building projects, learning new things and teaching others.

Likewise and directly below that comment, you have @dustinbrett making the case for passion:

Passion all day. I have no desire to work for money. Follow your passion and the money will come, and if it doesn't at least you are doing what you love.

And of course, there are plenty other folks who claim both are equally important:

I'd say both.

I think I ultimately chose this path above some others I thought about because it was a more pragmatic career, but I do have a passion for technology that is a driver for the things I considered.

I wouldn't work in a field I had no passion for, but I have other passions I strayed from in order to pursue a more financially-secure career.

Money without passion a never ending ending game. You will get tired sooner or later. Passion without money hits you from Day 1 with no life left to make your soul stay in the game of life.

You need to balance both, chase passion and make sure you have enough money to feed that monster.

I have been in startups with just passion with lot of financial burdens, I have walked out many times empty handed and frustration than anything else.

Reasonable amount of money and passion for what we do is always essential. There is no this or that in this scenario.

Both! I've done programming all my life, here and there, when I needed a custom app, or just for fun, if an idea struck me. When I was very young I sold cassette copies of a haunted house game I wrote for the ZX81. My first job as a teen was designing a database for the forestry department here at OSU & I loved it. But nobody ever told me it could be, like, a career! It seems dumb to me now to have missed it. But recently I needed a change for financial reasons, and poking around, I discovered that yeah, this is a great way to make a living. So I'm giving it a shot. How do you like my timing? I started on this path and just a few weeks later, layoffs hit the headlines. Well, even as salaries fall, if I can find a position, I'll be better off than I ever have been, money-wise, doing something I really enjoy. Hopefully the slump will be temporary.

While @moopet falls on the side of neither:

I'm not sure it's either, for me.
It's more like, "this is the only thing I'm any good at"!

There are answers all over the map! Hop in there to see all the other awesome comments and let folks know what motivates you to be a developer β€” money or passion?

What are your picks?

The DEV Community is particularly special because of the kind, thoughtful, helpful, and entertaining discussions happening between community members. As such, we want to encourage folks to participate in discussions and reward those who are initiating or taking part in conversations across the community. After all, a community is made possible by the people interacting inside it.

There are loads of great discussions floating about in this community. This is just the one we chose to highlight. πŸ™‚

I urge you all to share your favorite discussion of the past week below in the comments. And if you're up for it, give the author an @mention β€” it'll probably make 'em feel good. πŸ’š

Top comments (8)

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

You may be thinking about answer the Money or Passion? question right here in the comments section of my post.

While I'd love to hear which one motivates you, please make sure to share your response in the original post first and foremost!

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

β€œYou can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

Money flows in whenever you help people to get what they want. But without being passionate or enthusiastic in what you do to help people.

It is very hard to sustain one's drive for a long time. Especially when obstacles or failures comes knocking at your door.

Bouncing back up and using your failures or obstacles as a stepping stone. This requires one's passion without it, you give up pretty easy.

fyodorio profile image

Thanks for highlighting that, really interesting discussion πŸ‘

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Woot! Thank you! I'm glad you dug this one. πŸ™Œ

frank-e profile image

For me, passion is the driver. But you also need to earn a living. Passion should be the main driver though, not money. If you focus on the money you'll be out sooner than you think. For me, even if I were to move into another industry, I'd still code. I love tech!

akashdev23 profile image
Akash Dev

Passion if you want long term

ianwijma profile image
Ian Wijma

I mean I like money. But I strongly believe you need to have passion for the craft to get good. And I love writing code that is used by others. So for me it's definitely a passion.

balagmadhu profile image
Bala Madhusoodhanan

Chase your passions and money will come. Chase money and you may never find your passions. - Colin Wright