I stopped actively coding a few years ago, right after I graduated in Computer Engineering. I had to do something else. It’s not so much that I didn’t enjoy coding, but I wasn’t in love with writing code for the sake of writing code. I loved the craft, but not as a job or as a service provider.
Probably much like an author loves his craft. It’s great as long as you get to pick what to write. You get to actually create. When somebody else tells you what you should write, the whole magic goes away. You’re just trading time for money and somebody else ends up putting his name on your work.
So I went on and explored a whole lot of other things and got paid to do it along the way. I actually built a business around those things. Marketing, SEO, UX, design, conversion optimisation and digital strategy just to name a few. I learned a whole lot. I tried, experimented, succeeded and sometime failed.
I basically learned business. Sales, marketing, branding, product development, customer lifecycle and product design. The whole thing.
I never totally lost touch with coding though. I always ensured to stay somewhat up to date. Almost like I wasn’t completely assuming the decision of going in a different direction. Or maybe because it has always been a differentiating factor among other people — in a digital marketing world, I actually understand technology and how things are built.
But a strange thing happened about a year ago. I had to get back into more technical stuff and I actually enjoyed it. Again. It felt like the pressure of experimenting with other things was gone. Not that I’m done experimenting or that I’m out of curiosity, but there’s no more pressure. I learned what I wanted to learn, what pushed me out of engineering.
My perception has also changed. While I was seeing software engineering as a job or a service — and the same goes for these other things like marketing and design — I now see them as a way to achieve something. To create.
I feel like I’m being brought back to engineering but with a much broader perspective and different context.
A context in which technology is not a job, but a way to build and create. A different perspective in which technology is actually nothing without sales, marketing, design and a creative process. Technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself.