Programmer, Maker or Both?

Published: 2014-09-24

2 min read

I just want my stuff to work and not break. Programming is not my passion. Making stuff is my passion. -- Levels.io

That's not my quote, but it certainly resonated with me. For the better part of two years I've been working as a freelance developer, coding projects for clients to generate some income and occasionally working on projects of my own in my spare time. This has worked out great for me so far: I live where I want (currently Taipei), work when I want and generally have quite a bit of freedom in what I do on a given day.

This line of work has also led me to discover how much I love the web and creating for it. At the same time I've also (re)discovered the joy of programming. I regularly tell friends, acquaintances and people I just met that they should learn to code. Not because I believe I know what's best for them, but because I truly enjoy what I do and I think others might as well.

But why do I enjoy it? This question has come up more than once in my mind. Do I actually enjoy programming for programmings sake? Is it my passion? I think not. I think it's just as Levels.io said: Making stuff is my passion. Yet, I often spend time doing things that are directly related to programming, but perhaps won't directly lead to any new creation. Here are a few examples:

  • I've been spending a lot of time recently learning Docker so I can better deploy my apps.
  • For much the same reason I taught myself Bash and switched all my sites over to Digital Ocean (referral link) so that I could enjoy the obscurity of the command line with all my projects.
  • When I first started coding I learned Git before I could even build a stable app.

And of course the most egregious example of all: I learned Vim. I certainly don't regret that, but learning Vim means learning an entirely new programming language call vimscript, all so that you can basically code your own text editor.

The best part is I enjoyed all of it. So maybe I am more of a 'Programmer' than I thought. Still, I'd like to always be aware of why I'm doing what I'm doing, and that's because there are so many cool things to be built that simply don't exist yet.


About me

I'm Ian. I'm a software engineer. Here are some things I'm into: javascript, functional programming, simplicity, Mandarin. If you want to chat you can find me on Twitter and GitHub.