By May 13, 2021

Why You Shouldn’t Be a Programmer

What I want to talk about today was why you shouldn't be a programmer, at least for your whole life.

I think being a programmer is a good idea to make some money, but it might not be the best idea if you have in your mind to become an entrepreneur. If you want to become financially independent and you want to do other things with your life eventually even if you enjoy it.

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez:

What's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. What I want to talk about today was why you shouldn't be a programmer at least for your whole life. So that's what we're going to be talking about in this video. I'm tell you why I think being a programmer is a good idea to make some money, but why it might not be the best idea if you have in your mind to become an entrepreneur if you want to become financially independent and you want to do other things with your life eventually even if you enjoy it. If you guys are just joining me for the first time, I'm John from simpleprogrammer.com. On this channel, I teach you how to develop the soft skills that you need to succeed as a software developer, not just the technical skills. A lot of people talk about that, but I'm talk about the soft skills, the career management skills, how to be a better person and live a better life as a programmer.

So click the Subscribe button, join us here. And if you haven't already, check out my book, The Complete Software Developers Career Guide. I also have the Software Developer's Life Manual. They're both on Amazon. You can check them out here. There's also a link in the description. So if you haven't read those books, audio versions as well, I highly recommend that you check them out. So what we're talking about today is why you shouldn't be a programmer for life. Now, again, I'll tell you my story. I started writing code probably when I was 13 or so. Got introduced into it and wanted to make my own game. And I loved it. I enjoyed it. I feel like there is no activity that captures the creative element of creating something and is so mentally rewarding as programming. I mean, you really can't get more than that. You're essentially creating your own world, even within the code, your own system and really creating and designing things.

Your canvas is blank. You can do whatever you want and there's poetry to it in the sense that how you write the code and how you connect the things together, it's art. But there's logic and mathematics and it just combines all of these elements. So it's a wonderful, awesome thing. I miss it. I definitely miss writing code. But with all that said, it wasn't something for me longterm. So, again, I started my career, I got my first real programming job at 19 making a lot of money as a contractor during the dot com craze and everything like that. I developed my skills as a software developer, got a lot of really good jobs, had a lot of enjoyable times writing code and eventually teaching other people how to write code. I've written my books on that. I did a bunch of courses or a company called Pluralsight, which canceled me. Another story. I've got a video on that on the channel.

But anyway, what ended up happening though, was I moved out of programming to pursue entrepreneurship. As I started to build a business, this business that I have now, Simple Programmer, around teaching developers soft skills, I start to realize that as I was building this business that more and more of my time was better spent in doing the more entrepreneurial things. Making video content, running the business, hiring people, managing people, making business deals, and figuring out the vision of that business rather than actually writing code. Obviously, any business runs on software systems. I use WordPress for my sites and stuff like that. I don't program it. I don't write code. There's times when they need custom code written. I hire a programmer to do that, then so I don't write code anymore. But what I want you to understand is that you should see, at least most of you that have an entrepreneurial mind, software development is a great way to develop your critical thinking skills.

It's a great way to make money. It's a great career. I mean, you can make a lot of money, especially now as a software developer, and it's a great way to get experience with running businesses, especially if your work first startup and how they work and all of those things. But it might not be your end goal. A lot of people, they think, “Okay, I'm going to be a programmer and I'll be a programmer until I retire.” And that's fine. You could do that if you want. I think there's people that enjoy being a career programmer, but for me, I wanted to have freedom. I wanted to have financial freedom. I wanted to be able to do what I wanted in life and I wanted to be able to make a bigger impact on the world. What I do now with Simple Programmer, with my books reaching hundreds of thousands of people, my website reaching millions of developers, and then my Bulldog Mindset company, reaching men and helping them in their lives, I feel like I'm making a bigger impact.

And what I came to realize was that as a software developer writing code, I mean, sure, I could make an impact, I could write some software that people use or contribute to that, but I couldn't make as big of an impact and as personal of an impact as I could, that I wanted to, in my life. And it also restricted me. I'd have to work for someone else. There's this startup route, and I thought about that as well, and I wrote some code to try and create applications. In fact, I wrote some applications. I wrote some mobile applications that did fairly well on the App Store, some running applications and things like that. But what I realized was those programming skills were a very small part of being an entrepreneur. So I could hire cheaply someone to write code for me, and if I spent the time doing that, that was not the best use of my time. And one of the things that you learn as an entrepreneur is that you have to utilize your time correctly.

You have to use your time whatever the best use of that time is, and then hire people to do some of those other things that you might want to do on your own. So that's where I arrived with the whole thing. And if you want to think about this in your life, like I said, if you're about becoming a programmer, I don't want to discourage you. Become a programmer, that's great. Learn those skills and get a good job. Even maybe you start a startup and you write the code initially for that. But at some point, if you really want to grow to your full potential, you're probably going to pass through that stage and then do something bigger. As much of a complicated and creative skillset it is to be a programmer, it is still more like being an artist. And there's always a conflict as an entrepreneur between the artist and the entrepreneur. The artist wants to create things for the sake of creating them for the art. The entrepreneur needs to do things that make money.

And so you're going to face that problem eventually in life. And what I encourage you to do is to think about also, where do you want to go? Do you want to not have to work for someone? At first, I thought, “Okay, well, that's freelancing,” and I did programming freelancing. And what I realized is I traded in one boss for many bosses. And then I thought, “Well, let me have a product,” and I built a product. And then what I realized was I traded in many bosses for a whole customer base that I had to satisfy that I couldn't just produce what I wanted. I always wanted to do what I wanted to do. And then, as I evolved past that stage, I realized that what I actually needed to do was to build financial independence. I did that a lot by investing in real estate, by making money from the businesses, by doing some of the things I didn't want to do necessarily in order to have that financial independence and then to be able to shift into what I do want to do.

So what I'm doing now is what I want to do. I do Bulldog Mindset, that's my main business. I still do some stuff with Simple Programmer, but they don't have to do any of those things. And so you need to think about structuring your life in that way. So think about as your career, if you're a software developer now or even becoming one, a programmer, and then what's going to happen, where are you going to be at five years, 10 years from now? Are you going to make enough money saving money from your job, maybe investing in real estate? If you're not doing that, maybe you should check out doing that. But where are you going to be? Are you going to be to the place where maybe you want to travel the world? You've got to really think about these things because it's your life. And I think a lot of people, I do a lot of coaching, they don't think about these things.

They just assume that if they get a really good job and they keep making more money and they keep on going down that path, that all the things they want in life are going to happen for them, and that's not really true. You have to actually plan this out and actually have to think. But then I had like a come to Jesus moment when I was probably, I don't know, about 29 or 30 and I realized all the things that I wanted in life, they weren't just automatically going to happen. I was going to have to make them happen and I needed to come up with a plan in order to make those happen. And so that's what I did. So anyway, leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Are you going to be a programmer for life? Leave a comment and let me know if you are or not. And make sure you click the Subscribe button.

I've got a bunch of other videos on this channel all about being a programmer and some of these career decisions that you might make. And let me know what other topics that you guys want to hear from in the future. Again, like I said, I'm going to start to revitalize this channel a little bit here, as I've been gone for a while. All right, guys. Talk to you next time.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."