I think there is a certain sub-population of programmers that think one should be programming also outside office hours to be really good. Then there is a group of people who think that is needless hustle porn: you can have a 9 to 5 job, close the lid of your laptop go home, and still be a great programmer.
I have witnessed the latter with my own eyes. One of the smartest programmers I’ve ever met was like that: they were always ahead the schedule, quality of the work was always amazing and at the end of the day they went home to spend time with their family.
That said, I think programming should be fun for it to be your career. I don’t think you can really handle the boring and frustrating days you eventually meet in your profession unless you truly enjoy programming. I also think whoever likes what they are doing will eventually be better at it than those who just do it for whatever external motivation (and to clarify: I think it is perfectly 100% ok that you have a “meh” job to do what you want to do on your free time)
And probably wouldn’t say this unless I did enjoy programming. I love solving semi-mathematical problems. I enjoy putting those pixels in neat order, I love finding a new way to optimise the process or my code. And I just love turning abstract ideas to code and to something people enjoy using. In essence we get to do magic and get paid to do it. What could be more fulfilling?
This is part I of my series of What do you Believe in as a SW Developer? // Timo Koola