There are many things that can motivate us to be programmers. Some of them can motivate for the long term, while others may not be sustainable. We may become very good at a particular language or framework. This specific expertise may very well translate to a larger paycheck. But if your true goal is mastery of your craft, we must remember to continually try to expand on what we know and get out of our comfort zone to experience true growth.
There will be days, weeks, and months when you love your job. You’ll chuckle to yourself, in awe that you actually get paid to develop software. The software you write will flow effortlessly from your mind through your fingertips, beautiful to behold in function and design. These are good and extraordinary days. In other words, they are not your ordinary days.
I do not think that this has changed the way I view my current profession. I have felt the subtle sting of stagnation by not getting outside of my comfort zone. There have been times when it was easier to implement a solution in my native language rather than explore potentially better solutions on a foreign platform. This is a trap and it must be avoided.
In too many examples of motivations that you might need I can separate one:
“You’re motivated primarily by your enjoyment of programming, but you’ve had a few months when you can’t feel the love. You are seriously considering abandoning the profession. Fortunately, you are also motivated by money, and you think that programming is your best option financially right now. You stick it out for the money and eventually your love for programming returns.”
These pitfalls are unsustainable and could have negative consequences if left unchecked. Burnout is probably the worst that could happen. There could be more subtle consequences also. A false sense of confidence; an ignorance to current best practices; and an eventual drifting into obsolescence can be a real roadblock to success.
If you are walking The Long Road to mastery, it is essential that you Nurture Your Passion for software craftsmanship while keeping it in balance with the other aspects of your life. Naturally, there will be times where the scales will tip in one direction or another. Keep motivation yourself as a programmer and your life is going to be better.