Geeks With Blogs
Josh Reuben

I’m a programmer, Im approaching 40, and I’m fairly decent at my job – I’ll keep doing what I’m doing for as long as they let me!


So what are your career options if you know how to code?

A Programmer could be ..


An Algorithm developer


  • Interesting
  • High barriers of entry, potential for startup competitive factor


  • Do you have the skill, qualifications?
  • What are working conditions n this mystery niche ?
  • micro-focus

An Academic


  • Low pressure
  • Job security – or is this an illusion ?


  • Low Pay
  • Need a PhD

A Software Architect


  • strategic, rather than tactical
  • Setting technology platform and high level vision
  • You say how it should work, others have to figure out why its not working the way its supposed to !
  • broad view – you are paid to learn (how do you con people into paying for you to learn ??)


  • Glorified developer – more often than not!
  • competitive – everyone wants to do it !
  • loose touch with underlying tech
  • in tough times, first guy to get the axe !

A Software Engineer


  • interesting, always more to learn
  • fun
  • I can do it
  • Fallback


  • Nothing new under the sun – been there, done that
  • Dealing with poor requirements, deadlines, other peoples code, overtime
  • C#, XAML, Web - Low barriers of entry –> à race to the bottom

A Team leader


  • Setting code standards and proposing technology choices


  • Glorified developer – more often than not!
  • Inspecting other peoples code and debugging the problems they cannot fix
  • Dealing with mugbies and prima donas
  • Responsible for QA of others

A Project Manager


  • No need for debugging other peoples code


  • Low barrier of entry
  • High pressure
  • Responsible for QA of others
  • Loosing touch with technology
  • A lot of bullshit meetings
  • Have to be an asshole

A Product Manager


  • No need for debugging other peoples code
  • Learning new skillset of sales and marketing


  • Travel (I'm a family man)
  • May need to know the bs details of an uninteresting product

things I want to work with:

  • AI, algorithms, Numerical Computing, Mathematica, C++ AMP – unfortunately, the work here is few & far between.
  • VS & TFS Extensibility, DSLs (Workflow , Lightswitch), Code Generation – one day, code will write code !
  • Unity3D, WebGL – fun, fun, fun !
  • Modern Web – Knockout, SignalR, MVC, Node.Js ??? (tentative – I'll wait until things stabilize as this area is undergoing a pre-Cambrian explosion)

Things I don’t want to work with:

(but will if I'm asked to !)

  • C# – same old, same old – not learning anything new here
  • Old code – blech !
  • Environment with code & fix mentality , ad hoc requirements, excessive overtime
  • Pc support, System administration – even after 20 years, people still ask you to do this sometimes !
  • debugging – my skills are just not there yet
  • Oracle
  • Old tech: VB 6, XSLT, WinForms, Net 3.51 or less
  • Old style Web dev
  • Information Systems: ASP.NET webforms, Reporting services / crystal reports, SQL Server CRUD with manual data layer, XAML MVVM – variations of the same concept, ad nauseaum. Low barriers of entry –> race to the bottom. 
  • Metro – an elegant API coupled to a horrendous UX – I'll wait for market penetration viability before investing further in this.



So if you are in a slump, take heart: Programming is a great career choice compared to every other job !

Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:56 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: What Color is your Jetpack ?

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I totally agree of this. Being a developer is a great career choice. - Marla Ahlgrimm
Left by Robert Nyers on Jan 06, 2017 2:21 PM

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