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Alternative Career Paths That Software Developers Can Grow Into (freecodecamp.org)
55 points by mooreds on July 12, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments



I'm disappointed that the list focusses entirely on technical roles and ignores careers completely opposite to software development. I think a programmer would make a good mechanic, electrician, or plumber from the debugging skills alone.


It seems to focus on roles where your former software engineering experience is useful and your years of experience translate to starting at a non-junior role. There's innumerable jobs where problem solving is useful however starting a career over from scratch (including pay wise) is very painful.

Plus, practically speaking, the article is already 20+ jobs long, adding the dozens of other careers that require logic (including doctors, lawyers, carpenters, etc.) would make the article so long as to be pointless.


Good luck trying to leverage software engineering experience to move into the trades like plumbing or mechanic work. You'll probably be laughed at, and then you'll start at the entry level just like everyone else.


IMO a bad idea anyway - as a software dev, even a bad one, you can create more value for more people at the same time. As a plumber you're only fixing one thing for one person at a time so there's a hard limit on how valuable that is.


Tell that to literally any hi-rise building, conference hall, apt mains.

The arrogance of HN sometimes


Never ascribe to arrogance that which can be adequately explained by ignorance.


But believing you are better than someone else due to ignorance is pretty much the definition of arrogance.


Original statement was about the capabilities of the roles of software developers vs. plumbers, not the virtue of a person in the first role versus the second.


"Value". I mean yes you can if you are antirez but lets stop glorifying software developers as most of them dont provide any value to anyone except themselves. Plus fixing 30 kitchen sinks a month is a lot of value to me.


>as most of them dont provide any value to anyone except themselves

How do you explain software devs getting paid without providing any value?


C'mon, let's be real... most devs are working on features/products that will never see the light of day. Or they're restyling the company's "contact us" form for the thousandth time.

The market is not efficient. A software developer being paid $100k doesn't mean they're providing the world with $100k of value. it just means they convinced management/HR to pay them $100k for turning up 250/365 days.

I suggest checking out "bullshit jobs" by David Graeber :)


Sure, people don't always ship. Companies and investors pay to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. It doesn't all stick, but if they threw nothing, nothing would.

The individual may not provide 100k, but N developers probably provide (at least) 100Nk value. That or the market is very broken.

As an aside, you and the parent both say "most", which I would doubt but is difficult to prove either way.


> it just means they convinced management/HR to pay them $100k for turning up 250/365 days.

I mean isn't value based on what you can convince someone else to pay for the service/product. Are Mac's really valued at 10 grand or whatever, but rather simply what they've convinced someone to pay for that.

Also, isn't that the same for plumbers for example? Plumbers being paid around $150/hr (this is what is the going rate for a good plumber in Australia) are providing the world with $150/hr of value. It just means that they convinced the customer to pay them $150/hr for turning up to their house and taking a look at a leaky tap, one that could be fixed in about 5 mins.


And most plumbers are fixing clogs that a five year old with a rooter could fix thus providing no real value. See what I did there?


I wouldn’t put most devs in the category but the existence of “bullshit jobs” that provide little to no value isn’t controversial is it?

Edit: other reply beat me to it


That applies to plumbers as well. Which means we either come up with a comprehensive philosophy on what constitutes "value" or we go with the capitalistic approach of "what someone is willing to pay."


Yeah, half of these careers are just “software developer with a different job title”.


In high school they gave me a series of tests that concluded I was in the highest 1% of the population for linguistic comprehension and the lowest 3% of the population for spatial comprehension; I believe I have improved the second metric since then but I still doubt I would make a good mechanic, electrician, or plumber.

A side note, people are often surprised by the bugs I find.


I appreciate the author making the effort to write up an article to help people find their career paths, it's more than I've done, but their article needs some revisions since some things are wrong.

The welcome splash graphic shows data science having one of the lowest people skill requirements? What?

Yeah I get it's still a hazily defined field, but literally every attempted definition I've seen includes greater business/domain knowledge than the average programmer, which usually implies working and communicating with different business stakeholders. And DS requires a lot of communication for getting buy in for the new models.

They also should be fairly independent since they have to do a lot of exploring of the data and coming up with ways to get useful, actionable insight out of it, often creating a predictive model.

It's going to be hard to take the rest of the article seriously with things like that in the splash graphic.


Yeah it seemed kind of strange to me that Data Science and R&D are both not considered highly independent, I guess on some teams there is a more collaborative atmosphere but most of the data science work I have done seemed pretty independent. The people skills I agree with also, can't see how any data scientist could get by without strong people skills to communicate their results with leaders and to collaborate with subject matter experts.


That's a fair critique, although I didn't mean to imply that any of these roles take 0 people skills - only that some involve more time creating things solo vs. interacting with a team.

I also think there's a lot of variation in these roles, so my experience with them is probably just limited.


Similarly Teacher and Trainer should have the most people skills requirement and be all the way to the right.

Security Analyst and Business Analyst have a high people skills requirement as well, you spend your time hovering and translating 2 domains:

- Security or Business

- Developers

And often sales, marketing, legal as well.


SRE work as “highly reactive”? Then you are not doing it right.


I've always liked Scott Adam's career path (includes 'programmer', 'product manager' and of course creator of Dilbert.

I've always thought Gary Larson would have made a good programmer, too.


Surprised that people management is not here




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