in coding work me ~ read.

Great Developers are Passionate but in Different ways

Phil DeJarnett from Qualified.io wrote a great article this week called: Great Developers Don't Need To Be "Passionate". It really resonated with me. While Phil's point is 100%, I think a lot of people confuse passion with obsession.

Like a lot of people, early in my career I lived ate, slept and breathed code. I wanted to prove I could master my craft. Code sessions would run into the wee hours of the night, just to fix a bug or ship that feature on time. Email from a client at 11pm on a Friday? Sure let me handle that! Sunday morning and nothing to do? I'd wander off and work on a new feature or a personal project.

Great developers have a drive to create, iterate and improve everything they do. It's that drive that makes them so good at what they do. Always being willing to roll up their sleeves and make things work.

But this passion can easily become an obsession. Too much of anything is not good for you. I think this is a large contributor to burnout in our industry. Coding sessions start bleeding together in an endless stream. Your day starts looking like:

while(true) {  
    wake();
    eat("breakfast");
    travel(work);
    code(workProject);
    eat("lunch");
    code(workProject);
    travel(home);
    eat("supper");
    code(personalProject);
    sleep(21600);
}

Your personal projects don't get touched, you're too sick at looking at code to code more. Your 9-5 might even suffer. One can easily code so much that the fun goes away. Without the fun of coding, the drive to create is just not the same.

I learnt the hard way that passion can easily become an obsession. Obsessions are never fun.

I'm very passionate about writing software, but I channel some of that passion into other hobbies. I feel that this ends up making me a better developer in the end and a more rounded individual.