“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a computer programmer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.“
Satoru Iwata, Businessman
Pros and Cons of Working as a Programmer
You think about becoming a software developer?
Before making your final decision, you should definitely check out all the pros and cons of being a programmer in this article so that you can avoid any mistakes regarding your career choice.
Computer Programmer Job Profile
|Job Description||Programmers write code and make sure that their software works properly. They can work either self-employed or also for big global corporations.|
|Salary||$75,000 per year on average, most software engineers make between $53,000 and $82,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Decent if you are really good at various programming languages.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if you like coding work.|
|Work-Life Balance||Good since programmers have plenty of leisure and also don’t have to work on weekends.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Working as a programmer can be mentally challenging.|
|Future Outlook||Decent since good programmers will always be needed.|
|Requirements||You need a college degree for becoming a programmer.|
Advantages of Being a Programmer
- Computer programmers can make decent money
- You can work indoors
- Shortage of qualified workers in the software development industry
- Coders will have decent future job prospects
- You can plan way ahead for your future
- Coders can work all over the world
- You can work self-employed as a programmer
- Coders don’t have to work long hours
- You don’t have to work in the evening
- Good work-life balance for programers
- You can avoid hard physical work
- Software developers can work with many different departments
- You can help out your friends
- Programmers can start side hustles
- You learn many valuable skills during your career
- Web developers can work for many different companies
- Teleworking will be possible for coders
Computer programmers can make decent money
One advantage of being a computer programmer is that you can make decent money from your job.
While many other people out there will struggle to pay their bills, you will often be able to afford everything you need by working as a software developer, at least if you work for one of the big tech companies.
Some programmers are even able to afford some luxury, including a nice car and a fancy home.
Of course, there are huge income swings in this industry and it is not guaranteed that you will get one of those well-paying jobs.
However, if you are willing to work hard and always learn new skills in this field, chances are that you will do very well in the long run.
You can work indoors
As a software engineer, you will also be able to work indoors.
While you may take this for granted since many office jobs are like this, there are still numerous people out there who have to work under extremely harsh conditions outdoors, no matter what.
Hence, while many other people have to work in the cold, you will be able to work in a relatively cozy environment as a software engineer and can even enjoy a nice coffee or tea while working at the same time.
Shortage of qualified workers in the software development industry
We also currently have a shortage of really good people in the software industry.
This means that not only your wage will be quite decent, but that you will often have the freedom of choice for whom you want to work for.
In turn, you will not have to be afraid of becoming unemployed anytime soon and even if you do due to unlucky circumstances, chances are that you will still be able to find a new job pretty soon that may offer you even better working conditions.
Coders will have decent future job prospects
Not only will your job prospects as a software developer be pretty good right now, but they will also continue to be decent in the future.
In fact, good software engineers will always be needed and if you become a true expert in your field, chances are that you will not worry about losing your job for many years to come.
Consequently, becoming a programmer can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you want to be on the safe side and don’t want to worry about job security and the about issues that come along with it.
You can plan way ahead for your future
Another upside to becoming a coder is that you will also be able to plan for your future quite well.
Since you will have decent job security, you will have a stable income and this will allow you to finance a home and to start your own family.
You will also be able to make long-term plans on what you want to achieve in life and while many other people struggle with lots of insecurity in this regard, software engineers will often be on the safe side when it comes to these important topics.
Coders can work all over the world
As a computer programmer, you will also be able to work from all over the world.
In fact, if you have good knowledge about popular programming languages and become a real expert in your field, you may be able to travel the world while making a really good income at the same time.
There is a real shortage of experts for certain programming languages on a global scale and if you are willing to put in the work and learn how to exploit this fact, you will most likely be able to work for many multinational corporations.
Not only will you be able to travel the world, but you will also be able to meet many interesting and ambitious people along the way and you will also have the opportunity to make many new friendships with people from all over the world.
You can work self-employed as a programmer
As a programmer, you also don’t necessarily have to work as an employee.
Instead, you can also just work as a freelancer and be your own boss.
In fact, there are many projects where you can just apply as a freelancer and if you are really good at what you are doing, chances are that your clients will recommend you to their contacts and that you get more jobs than you could ever handle on your own.
Also the upfront costs for starting your own business as a programmer are pretty low and it will therefore also pretty easy to transit from working as an employee to self-employed work.
Therefore, working as a software developer can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you plan to start your own business sooner or later and don’t want to work as an employee forever.
Coders don’t have to work long hours
Another benefit of becoming a software developer is that you will also not have to work many extra hours.
In fact, most coders only work 40 hours and many of them even work far less while still making decent money at the same time.
You will also have many opportunities to expand your knowledge in this field and your actual working hours will be rather limited, which can be great if leisure is really important to you.
You don’t have to work in the evening
You will also be rather flexible regarding your working hours as a software developer.
For instance, you can get up in the early morning and get all of your work done in just a few hours.
After doing your work, you will then have free evenings and sometimes even free afternoons which you can spend with your family.
Of course, it will also be possible to work at night and to sleep longer in the morning.
This depends on your individual preferences and you have to figure out when you are able to do your work most efficiently.
However, you will still have the opportunity to work whenever you want and also to take breaks if you feel like you don’t want to work anymore.
This can be great since it will also help you to manage your private and your professional life at the same time, especially in case you have kids whom you have to bring and pick up from school.
Good work-life balance for programers
Software developers also report a pretty decent work-life balance in general.
Hardly any programmer says that he or she would like to work fewer hours and most of them are pretty content with the amount of leisure they have.
Consequently, becoming a programmer can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you have many hobbies and also a family to care for while still making decent money at the same time.
You can avoid hard physical work
While working as a software developer can be mentally demanding, it will imply any hard physical work.
Instead, you will just sit in your computer chair all day long and will try to improve your code.
In turn, also your risk of suffering from physical health issues later in your life will be much lower compared to someone who works in construction and has to lift many heavy things every day.
Software developers can work with many different departments
As a programmer, you will also have the opportunity to work with people from many different departments.
Quite often, you have to ask your colleagues what they expect from the software you are responsible for and if you don’t share your ideas and get proper feedback, chances are that you will not produce something that is really valuable for the company you work for.
Consequently, you will also be able to build a strong network inside your company as a software engineer.
You can help out your friends
Since you will build a strong knowledge regarding how computers work during your career as a software developer, you will also be able to solve many computer problems for your friends.
Not only that, but you can also help out your parents with issues many old people experience when it comes to using our latest technologies.
In turn, your family and friends will be really grateful for your support and will also be more likely to help you out in case you need support from them in the future.
Programmers can start side hustles
You will also have many opportunities to start a side hustle as a programmer.
You could start a YouTube channel or a blog and talk about coding all day long.
You could also work on many side projects after work and on weekends and this gives you the opportunity to make even more money from what you are doing.
You learn many valuable skills during your career
As a programmer, you will also learn many hard skills that will really help you in our current and future job market.
In fact, coding skills will always be needed and due to our technological progress and the virtualization of the world, chances are that your coding skills will really make you a good living in the long run.
It can also be quite interesting to work in this field since you will always have to stay up-to-date with latest technological developments and chances are that you will never get bored with what you are doing, at least if you are really passionate about those things.
Web developers can work for many different companies
Almost every big company needs web developers who make sure that those companies are able to compete in this technologized world.
Consequently, you will have many different companies you could work for and will also be relatively location-independent in this regard.
For instance, if you want to move to a different place one day, you can easily do so as a software engineer since you will find a new job in a different area pretty soon.
Teleworking will be possible for coders
You may also be able to work remotely as a software engineer.
In fact, many programmers can work from home or even from wherever they want as long as they have a working internet connection.
This will make you much more flexible when it comes to managing your private and professional life at the same time and you will also be able to save many hours on commuting.
Consequently, you can use your time much more efficiently compared to people who still have to be present at their workplace in person.
Now that you know all the advantages of a career as a software developer, we also have to talk about all the downsides that come along with it so that you get a better impression of what working as a programmer really looks like.
Disadvantages of Working as a Coder
- Working as a software engineer can be lonely
- You will not get rich as a coder
- Many jobs are outsourced to low-wage countries
- You need a college degree for becoming a software engineer
- You may have to get into student loan debt
- Working as a software engineer can be demanding
- Obesity may become a problem
- You have to stare at a computer screen all day long
- You always have to keep up with latest developments
- You need strong analytical skills for working as a coder
- Coding may become boring if you are not passionate about it
- Not the right job for extroverted people
Working as a software engineer can be lonely
One disadvantage of being a software developer is that it can just be quite lonely.
In fact, most of the time, you will just sit in front of your computer and try to write code for different projects.
You may also search for bugs for many hours without any human interaction.
While some people like this kind of work, others just need more social interaction during work and if you belong to the second group of people, chances are that you may want to go for a different career path instead of becoming a software developer.
You will not get rich as a coder
While you can make decent money as a coder, you will just not get rich by working in this field.
In fact, some coders do not make really good money and if you are one of those unlucky people, you may not be able to afford any luxury.
Hence, if money is really important to you, you should rather become a doctor, lawyer or investment banker instead.
Many jobs are outsourced to low-wage countries
Another issue with working in the software industry is that many coding jobs are or will be outsourced to third-world countries since wages in those countries are just much lower and there are also many qualified people who can work in this field in those countries.
In turn, many jobs in high-wage countries like the US may vanish in the near future and also working conditions may worsen due to that.
You need a college degree for becoming a software engineer
Another downside to becoming a software engineer is that you will need a college degree for working in this field.
Not only will you have to spend many years of your life on college education, but you will also have to make a serious financial commitment for tuition and other costs related to college.
Hence, before aspiring to a career as a software developer, make sure that you are willing to make this investment and make sure that you are ambitious enough to stick with it.
You may have to get into student loan debt
While some people are lucky enough that their parents finance their degree, others are on their own and are often not able to finance college education without going into student loan debt.
While those student loans can make your time in college easier since you don’t have to worry about financial aspects that much during this time, you will still have to repay those student loans sooner or later and many people will take quite a long time to pay back those huge sums of money.
Working as a software engineer can be demanding
You should also not underestimate how demanding the work of a software engineer can be.
Quite often, only minor mistakes in your code can cause serious issues for the whole project and you will be the one who will be responsible for making sure that everything works well in this regard.
In turn, there will be lots of pressure on your shoulders since your success or failure in your coding ventures will often also determine how the company that you work for is doing in general.
Obesity may become a problem
Another disadvantage of being a coder is that you will also not get sufficient exercise during your workday.
In fact, you will just sit in an office chair for many hours and if you don’t go to the gym or work out in a different manner, chances are that you will suffer from overweight pretty soon.
You have to stare at a computer screen all day long
As a programmer, you will also have to spend most of your workday in front of a computer screen.
In the long run, your eyes may really suffer and your vision may become quite bad.
Many people also don’t like computer work at all and if this is the case, you should definitely not become a coder at all.
You always have to keep up with latest developments
You should also not expect that you just learn how programing works and that you are set up for success for decades.
Due to our rapid technological development, you will always have to adjust to new things and what worked just a few years ago may become obsolete in the near future.
Hence, you should only become a software developer if you are willing to expand your knowledge on a continuous basis and are not afraid to learn something new.
You need strong analytical skills for working as a coder
While some people are borne for coding, others really struggle with it since they just lack the analytical skills that are needed to be successful in software development.
Consequently, you should do some tests to make sure that you have at least a minimum level of talent in this regard since you will likely not become happy in this industry otherwise.
Coding may become boring if you are not passionate about it
You should also make sure that you have a real passion for computer work and coding before you decide for a career in this field since chances are that you will become bored with what you are doing otherwise pretty soon.
Not the right job for extroverted people
Working as a coder will also not be for you if you are an extroverted person who loves the attention and who loves to talk to many people on a daily basis.
In such a case, you may rather want to go for a different career path where you get more social interaction.
Top 10 Being a Software Engineer Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Software Engineer Pros||Being a Software Engineer Cons|
|Programmers can make decent money||Programmers don’t get rich|
|Software engineering can be interesting||Rather suitable for introverted people|
|You have decent work-life balance||Lack of social interaction|
|You don’t have to work in the evening||Some jobs may be outsourced|
|High level of job security||You may get bored with it in the long run|
|You can help out your loved ones||You need college education|
|Software developers can work indoors||Student loan debt may become an issue|
|You can work from home||Coders need strong analytical skills|
|You can work for many different firms||You always have to develop your skills|
|Programmers can travel the world||You have to adjust to new conditions|
Should You Become A Software Developer?
As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages of being a programmer.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to go for a career as a coder or if you rather want to go for different job options instead.
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About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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