Passion for Software Development. To have or have not?

Some developers have a natural passion for development, some have to work really hard ad strive for it, and some just don’t seem to want it. Readers of this blog will most likely fall within the first two of these categories. It might seem like an oversimplification, but for an initial thought it seems to hold up. Rather than debate who has it, who doesn’t and who doesn’t want it, I rather talk about whether its a positive thing for a developer to have and whether all developers should strive for it.

I’ll set my stall out up front, I’m passionate about software development (because I enjoy it, I enjoy solving people’s problems and I get a kick out of it) and sometimes this over spills into anger and frustration if I believe something I am doing is not right or if something is more difficult than it should be. This is not to say I’m offensive, just that I need to take a few minutes out occasionally to collect my thoughts, though I am still diplomatic when confronted with an issue. This may mean I’m biased in some of the topics below but I will try and remain objective, I can see how sometimes the results of my passion are not ideal.

Good thing or bad thing?

I’d been writing this blog post for a while when I stumbled upon Ron Jeffries’ post about Passion and I think he says it better than I ever could. Its about wanting to make a difference and if that means provoking strong reactions then so be it, love and hate is better than nothing at all.

That said, I’ll make an attempt to add to it. The stronger I feel about something the more I want to communicate these ideas, the more I want other people to see what I see, alas this cannot always be, at least not without effort and this path can lead to frustration. I have found this can lead to take a dictatorial tone rather than a leading tone, something I will come back to in another post, but for now I can say its no good telling them that something is right, at best they’ll respect you and half heartily accept it but not understand it and at worst they will fight it with all their will.

Passion is largely a positive attribute which leads to creative, inventive and highly motivated developers, however sometimes this passion can spill over into frustration and anger. Debate is healthy but when it turns into personal, angry arguments it is no longer healthy it is counter productive and unhealthy.

Should all developers have it?

I’m not sure about this, personally I need it, it drives me and if I didn’t have it I don’t think I would be a developer and certain not as effective a developer as I am and I enjoy being surrounded by other passionate people. However I feel there is still a need for people who are more reserved, reliable and consistent who can provide that backbone to a team or department, finding (and keeping) this balance is crucial to any team achieving big things for any length of time.

Shun or Share?

Developers who do have passion tend to be more vocal, creative and inventive in there solutions and ideas, sometimes the frustration of these half formed thoughts can be demotivating and crippling to performance, often the only way these ideas can improve is to share them, to express them to others and be open to criticism. This isn’t easy and certainly isn’t fun all the time, but it is healthy and, to quote from Ron Jeffries again, ” will come back to me manyfold”.

Roll on the free and expressive sharing of ideas between mutual respectful peers.

One thought on “Passion for Software Development. To have or have not?

  1. James Alcock

    Hi Marc,

    Thinking of starting a software / technology blog, thought I would check some others out and stumbled on yours…

    Looking good, maybe I’ll get some inspiration from it!

    Nicely written! Passion, it saddens me when there’s not enough passion in a team. Its nice to work closely with people who have a fire in them that is willing them along. You get more done, there is a team atmosphere that is unrivalled by any other and everyone wants to be there. Thats where the job satisfaction comes in!

    Drop me a line…



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