Software Development, The Older The Better

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Statistics are taken from a perspective of 'Stackoverflow'
  • No of developers and their reputation, by age
  • Questions and answers by age
  • Upvotes per post, by age
The biggest problem with software development is that there is no clear career path. In fact there is one which usually looks like this.

Programmer, software engineer, senior software engineer, software manager,architect or project manager.

or Programmer, system analyst, business analyst, project manager.

These are the corporate ladder ideals which most people couldn't survive and I think one of the biggest reason is that at which ever paths taken, you are still going to require to do coding and thus if you give up on coding, the path will be broken.

However, there is such thing as career software engineer.

The first type is where you developed a software and then you are able to create an industry or revolution out of it. Good examples are..
  • Bill Gates - Microsoft founder who developed MS Dos.
  • Google's founders - who developed search engine for Google.
  • David Filo (Yahoo's founder) - who developed Filo Server Program (web programming language)
  • Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook's founder ) - who developed Facebook.
The success enable is everything such as achievements, revolution, business and wealth.

The second type is where you do everything in a single job (programming, software engineering, analysis, architectural and project management). Such usually happens to those where they engage with one project with one company, completed the project and then go to another project with another company, bringing over the experience. Good examples of this are ...
  • Lars Rasmussen who developed a software which eventually become Google Maps today.
  • Ray Ozzie who developed Lotus Notes which eventually acquired by IBM.
  • Jeff Robbin who developed a music player which eventually become Apple's iTunes.
The success enable is that such people made money when the bigger company acquired the smaller company.

The third type of career software engineer is when someone created a software, make it open source or free and becomes advocate for it. Good examples are..
The success enable is that they become popular and somehow able to make a lot of money from consultancy works for various industries.

The fourth type of career software engineer is when someone created a software, doesn't sell it but use it as a tool for other business activities (such as trading) or perhaps offer it as software-as-a-service. Good examples are..
The success enable is that they become popular and somehow able to make money out of the technologies or platforms that they owned by not directly selling software license.

The common critical success factor is the sense of ownership and these people usually work alone or in a very small team, usually two or three person. I think two forms the best odds, just like Google.

The idea of working for a company and doing programming without ownership may not last one long, because one doesn't feel the ownership. And it eventually kills the passion.

And if you belong to either one or more of these four categories, you will have a blessing career developing software. The first two categories are hard entries, one has got to be the best in the industry while I think the third and fourth type are within reach of most passionate software developers. Most people are capable of becoming the fourth type if you can survive the initial stage of having not enough money while doing R & D.

Make your choice and good luck.

Remember. Ownership, ownership, ownership.


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