I was thinking about writing this piece, for the past couple of weeks. It's more of a personal catharsis mixed with some observations I've made in the last 3 months. This post ain't about bashing others. Rather, it's about me trying to find to figure out about myself. Feel free to share your thoughts, critiques and suggestions about this.
Let me start with a confession: I've started to feel that I've this love/hate relationship with LinkedIn. Every day I see 100s of posts about someone passing X certification, contributing in Y OSS project or something else. Then there's another trend going on where people quote something like If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, your side-hustle started, or more knowledge gained, that you never lacked time, you lacked discipline. This is utter nonsense. Am I a bad SWE if I am not busting my ass coding during weekends, not writing tech blogs every week or taking deep learning courses online? Who gets to decide who's a good and bad engineer? I work with engineers who've 10+ years of experience, worked on commercial projects only, don't have any certifications and never written a tech blog. Are they bad too?
Every time I see these kinds of posts, I feel guilty. of not doing enough. The anxiety keeps growing. Yes I want to improve, work on a side project and prepare for my masters applications. But it's really hard!. Keeping motivational level stable is a daily grind for me. I tried contributing in Zulip, pursuing AWS certification but I failed either because they were too difficulty or I didn't had time because of my 9-5 hr job. In fact, I've failed more often than I would like to admit. What does this make me then?
I studied electrical engineering for a year before transferring were to computer science. There were 2 reasons: first, I wasn’t happy studying it. Second, job market is for software engineers is much better compare to others. The last point is important especially if you're living in country like Pakistan where economy is in pretty bad shape. Money is the primary motivation for most of the people, for obvious reasons. The idea of passionate programmer and 10x ninja developer is a myth. Whole field of CS has become so much complex that impossible to be jack of all trades and master of all simultaneously. Most people just want to have a strong work-life balance with financial stability.
I am still struggling with my demons. I don't know about the future. All I know is that I've to wake up every day and try...
P.S: I am happy for those who're still doing productive work during these awful times especially those who've families to take case of, switching career and/or facing some other life issues. More power to you!