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> To be clear, I don’t mean to dismiss the work of a lone programmer toiling on programs without anyone to pair with or learn from. I’ve been that person many times in my career as a programmer, it’s not fun.

I'd say it's a lot of fun.

Definitely fun, but also slightly nerve-racking. A new project, script, or proof of concept left entirely up to you. The canvas is completely blank. Your initial code will probably be the seed for whatever this is for months or years to come. Remember all that trash you talked about the poor decisions everyone who came before you made? It's your turn. Don't screw it up.

Tangentially related for some of the younger devs: The predecessors on your project probably weren't idiots. It's possible, but they were likely working with a different set of requirements under a different scope. Even the code that it morphed into over time was probably a good enough decision for the constraints at the time.

It completely depends on the quality of your collaborators. Are they good developers, do they have somewhat compatible views, and are they reasonably friendly? I prefer working in a highly capable group.

Yeah, working with other good devs is fun too, but working alone is a special kind of fun. :-)

If you have collaborators you are not in that situation.

I’d say it’s in fact where the real fun happens

Working on personal projects, not having to conform to other people’s requirements, trying a bunch of cool hacks and getting to see how things really work…that’s the most fun part of programming!

The difference is the 'personal project' bit. If you have to do something, because it's for work and there's a deadline, then the fun hacks produce a general feeling of unease, uncertainty, and of not doing ones job properly.

At work myself i work mostly in isolation on codebases that have been in maintenance mode for years, where the original authors have typically either left the company or moved to another dept, and where there is almost no documentation. Everything is hacks and exploratory work, but it sure ain't fun. Adding relatively uninteresting small changes can take days or weeks.

Working on a broad and deep project as half of a pair is my preferred working mode so far in my career.

Side projects are probably the most fun that can be had with programming, not just for the freedom of requirements but also because you can build something you truly enjoy building.

I'm lucky to be writing fun code at work - most of the time -, but the side projects keep me sane for many reasons. Not having to deal with 'bad' code that I didn't write, is also a nice benefit. All the bad code in my personal projects is mine, so no one else to blame :D

EDIT: typos and delete possibly negative statement

Bs, nobody will read your code. 1 per 10 000 maybe. And even that 1 will be polite enough. Don't spread this bs - people shouldn't be afraid of shaming when they have some code to publish.

That's why I put the `/s` there. I wasn't being serious, and hope that most people got that. If not, my apologies. I constantly commit my toy projects and the few that got some viewers / comments were all polite indeed.

EDIT: I have deleted the original statement. After your comment it made me think that it might involuntarily scare people from sharing things in the open source world, which is not my intention.

Oddly enough I find the collaboration more interesting now. Not sure if that’s a getting older thing but I like managing the PR’s, ensuring code is of a high quality and serving the needs of the users.

I do both, and they have their own unique rewards. Writing personal projects is an exercise in self-improvement–it really doesn't matter all that much how your project turns out–while working on projects with others means you need to care about how other people and your project is improving. But in return you get to interact with people, show off your skills, receive and provide help…all useful skills in their own right.

Personal project that nobody cares about and doesn't have things like users, bosses, expectations, constraints, or deadlines, sure.

But the author said "in my career," which I took to mean during the course of ones paid employment.

I've never been happier working on a project than when I'm working with somebody that is a better programmer than me and willing to give advice and criticism.

I agree with the author maybe because for first four years of my software development career I was a lone developer. Maybe Dave was in similar situation.

I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to admit that, but I agree. Of course, if somebody asks me in person, I agree that team work makes the dream work and there is no I in team and we're all better together and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you tell me.

I agree with this sentiment, however, it does not continue to remain fun if that's the only development experience one has

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