What was your objective/reason behind choosing programming as a profession.?

+11  A: 

I enjoy it and it enables a reasonable standard of living. It satisfies my technical lean as well as requiring creativity.

Right on the money.
Rob Stevenson-Leggett
+5  A: 

So I can implement my ideas rather than having the inefficiency of getting someone else do do so.

Ben Aston
This way, the good thing is that you easily see that the bugs are most of the time in your own ideas ! :p
Nicolas Dorier
+2  A: 

I wasn't in the upper 1% of my astrophys degree. Programming provides the closest mainstream approximation of my failed ambitions in professional astronomy.

All things considered, I'm better off :)

I was an English major, and probably in the top 10% at my school for writing composition. I thought I'd write (or broadcast) for a living, or teach English at the secondary level. Sometimes, aspirations fail even when you are good at your major.
John Dunagan
+71  A: 

I did it for the girls.

When I find my careers advisor I'm going to kill him.

Paul Dixon
There are girls? Where?! (Just kidding)
Jim Anderson
@Dreas, Might wanna google Sarcasm
I actually LoL'd
Man, I saw this question on the front page and thought the same thing. :-)
Stewart Johnson
So funny, mine said there was no futur in IT ... Wisdom incarnated
haha, geeks are hot these days right... just like a hot scalding coffee
Drug dealers come to mind:
Yuval F
Girls enough: Ada, Lisa, Miranda, (there are possibly more examples).
+59  A: 

What's better than getting paid for doing something you actually enjoy doing eh?

That's why it was the obvious choice of a career for me...programming gives me satisfaction in seeing my creations work as expected, and it's a journey in where you are constantly learning new things and maybe even meeting new people, with diverse ideas and opinions.

If programming for you is a passion, then choosing a programming career will be one of the best things you will do in your life.

There's nothing better than waking up in the morning feeling great because you are going to work...

And besides, having also programming as a hobby ( and drumming ;-) ), like many of the developers posting here on Stack Overflow, having go to work and programming all day long will give you a chance to keep on learning every single day, instead of only learning during your all-nighters

Andreas Grech
I agree with everything here, except the last part... not exactly enjoying the new company.
I'd add, if you don't have passion to programming - don't do it. It's not for you.
Asaf R
yeah...if you don't already enjoy it....... you're going to hate it. i love programming, but i haven't been hired as a programmer yet (only freelance web stuff). i enjoy my creative freedom though..blah blah i'm drunk :'(
ah no worries Mark, we've all been there :) it'll pass...
Andreas Grech
I'm into drumming too, I have noticed that heaps of programmers are into some sort of music I wonder what the stats are on that...
@boon count me in. Actually - before started to work as a programmer, wanted to go and study in conservatory.
Arnis L.
@CRice: I guess it's because programming is close to maths, and mathematics and music are well known to be aligned. I suspect that there's a neuroscience reason for this, but that's getting out of my field totally.
Donal Fellows
+8  A: 

I didn't choose it - it chose me!

My degree was in Chemical Engineering which had quite a bit of lab work, and the write-ups required processing large sets of data in Excel to find trends etc. and perform calculations. I used to do it all manually by copying, pasting, dragging etc. and had spent about 2 days doing this in one spreadsheet, so was getting pretty bored of doing it. I went home to visit my parents and my dad (who is also a developer) took one look, said that was a waste of time, wrote a 10 line VBA macro, and finished my next two days work in 10 minutes.

I figured I'd better learn a bit of this funny looking VBA stuff and found that I enjoyed doing it... then I progressed onto solving other problems using VB6 and enjoyed that too... much more so than chemical engineering.

So when it came to be time to apply for a job I just sent off a form to Microsoft an (rather surprisingly) got a job there. Without ever really having intended to become a developer.

Greg Beech
This could be the preface to an autobiography :)
And, might I add to Learning's, a very nice preface.
Asaf R
Seriously, do people really "choose" their professions?
+1  A: 

I chose it because I do not believe that there is anything better when you can take what was once a hobby that you are passionate about and make a very comfortable living from it.

+1  A: 

I started because I have always been good with computers then I started learning programming when I started at work so that I could do some liitle tasks with the data that I had, then its just rolled on from there.

Pretty good considering my grade 7 teacher told my mum and dad I would never amount to anything because all I was good at was computers.

Nathan W

I really enjoy it and there is plenty of work available at good salaries.

Jim Anderson
+1  A: 

I chose software over hardware as I did a CS-related degree (Cybernetics and Control Engineering) and like creating things but am too impatient to do hardware design (waiting for delivery of components, waiting for construction of PCBs etc).

I like the immediacy of writing software (as well as the ability to undo any work - within reason - without penalty).

Richard Ev
+2  A: 

I am good at it.

Always choose a profession you are good at, rather than one you enjoy. This means you can get more work done at a better quality compared to other people in the same profession.

Never choose something you enjoy (unless you are good at it) because eventually you will not enjoy it any more. I always say: "Imagine if Van Gogh had had to paint walls for a living. He might go so mad he would cut off his own ear".

Ali A

Fame... what do you mean you have never heard of me!

+6  A: 

I had to take an occupational aptitude test in High School, which was supposed to tell me the three careers for which I was best suited, based on my skills and interests.

My three careers where:

  1. Forest Ranger
  2. Ventriliquist
  3. Computer Programmer

Since I hate camping, and I didn't know how to do ventriliquism, I decided to become a computer programmer.

Patrick Cuff
Hilarious. +1. "Forest Ranger"??
John Dunagan
Go go Forest Ranger ... His suit was green and brown
+11  A: 

I got into programming because:

  1. Its one of the few ways you can actually build something without being good with your hands
  2. Instant gratification. You write a few lines of code and something happens as soon as you compile.
  3. I love technology, and programming is a way to include me in something cool and exciting.
Giovanni Galbo
+6  A: 

When I was 12 I thought that I want to make computer games. I tried picking up C++ at that age, but it failed to capture me. I went ahead and trained for the job of computer artist.

At age 18 I saw a course called Game Programming, and thought, "I want to do that!".

So, I went from artist-wannabe to professional programmer.

The result is me being one of the few programmers that actually can make some pretty graphics.

I actually know quite a few people who are programmers who can do half decent art work, and artists who can write half decent applications (though they usually aren't THE best at either, they seem to be relatively common in the games industry from my experience so far)
Grant Peters
That's always been my problem in careers - I'm a natural artist, love colors and shapes, but have also a high IQ and knack for electronics and math. Can't pick just one. I refuse to choose! Irony: living in Orlando near one major game maker, I could hardly get my foot in the door!
+1  A: 

I got a Z80 from my dad when I was 16-17 and since in those days there were no really off shelf games to buy I got some books with game listings in BASIC tic tac toe and such. After some time typing in these I started to understand how things worked, so I got more and more interested. After that I choose computer science at the University and sort of that is how I ended up in this business. I still find programming fun cause there is always something new to learn, even 20+ years later.

Anders K.
+4  A: 

According to my wife, it's because I can build things without actually getting my hands dirty.

She is probably right.


I went to uni to do Management majoring in HR, and thought why do 1 degree in 3 years when i can get 2 in 4? I'm a natural with computers, that can be my bludge subject... The rest is history

+1  A: 

I knew I could write better code then most of the junk I was working with, so I did.

Jim C
They made me put my money where my mouth is, and I did.
+1  A: 

A top helpdesk / support engineer makes what a Junior Dev makes (In the northeast US). I got tired of the dead-end, and my employer at the time allowed me to move over to engineering. As soon as I was there, I was assigned all of the bugs I reported as a support tech (about a hundred).

Yep. Me too. +1.
John Dunagan
+1  A: 

Because in my experience, programmers were treated better and had more resources available (comp, community, knowledge base, etc.) than doc specialists, gui developers, qa, or any of the other jobs "around" the actual writing of code that I've held before.

The world values devs.

Now that I'm actually doing appdev, that assessment has held true. I'm not looking back.

John Dunagan
+2  A: 

I didn't, it chose me.


It was unintentional (I was a child, and those BASIC Listings in the magazines looked really interesting). But now, it is driven with the desire to create something. To leave something behind, to have "Michael was here" written on the world, persisting long after I am gone. I am not an artist nor a musician, but I believe that it's also possible to make an impact on the world as a developer.

Essentially, when I retire, I do not want to have the feeling to have wasted my entire life. Being able to look at something and being able to say: This is really MINE.

Michael Stum

I originally was double majoring in Marine Biology and Computer Science. After the first year I came to the conclusion that there were two types of marine biologists in the world... the kind who get the really cool gigs and dive off the great barrier reef and the kind who work the consession stands at Seaworld hoping for an internship to open up. Computer Science was the 'easy money'. 25 years later, I'd rather be flipping burgers :/

+2  A: 

Because I wanted to work with cool equipment. Computers with rotating rack-sized magnetic tapes, were the stuff of science fiction movies when I was a kid. Now I'm lucky to have at work and at home computers more powerful than those that put the man on the Moon. I thus feel like I'm living in a science fiction movie; my childhood dreams have come true.

Also, I was hopeless with most of the things we did at school. My handwriting was terrible, my spelling was even worse, I was sloppy in math, and I couldn't remember the figures, facts, and formulas needed for history, chemistry, physics, and many other subjects. I also had trouble integrating with the other kids, because I was also hopeless at sports. In front of a computer all these things were at a stroke irrelevant: the letters always appeared crisp, it could spell check my writing, the compiler could check my syntax and I could check a program's execution until I got it correct, online help would remind me all the facts I needed to know, and the computer could keep me company all day. When I programmed I felt I escaped all the problems around me (I think it shows in the programs I was writing as a kid), I felt I was in heaven.

Diomidis Spinellis
+1  A: 

Programming is an adventure full of fun, awe, thrill and excitement for me.

+2  A: 

A couple of reasons:

  • HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey - need I say more?
  • I learned how to type on computers (I wanted to write stories) and got interested in their inner workings because of that.
  • I was into CB-radio as a kid, but there were few people around me that I could talk to (and getting into ham radio was out of my reach), so I latched onto BBSes as a replacement, which led to the Internet, which led to learning HTML, which led to learning programming, which led to a degree in Computer Science.

Simple, really!


I saw that I wouldn't be bored at all doing programming from the few programming courses I took in my Electrical Engineering major and jumped on board.


I love programming for myself, on my own time, but found that I could not live in Corporate America, sitting in a cube all day, making money for someone else. I still like programming but not as a slave. Two years later I got into teaching and I'm much happier now. I still get to work with computers and do my own programming projects.

+1  A: 

Once I got hooked on programming, it never occurred to me to do anything else.


It was the only profession that I could start right after college (at relatively young age of 22) that required me to think on the job. This is not to say that it's the only profession that requires thinking on the job. But doctors can't start their career until their late 20's or even after that, and same thing for lawyers. Other professions (yes non-computer engineers included) seem to require more "pushing paper", and/or doing repetitive administrative tasks, but then again I only had one job at 22 so I didn't know about other professions. It was just my conclusion that I had when I was 19, so I chose it.


I became a doctor. My specialty is reading xrays and cat scans on a computer all day

I started programming because my computer wasn't doing what i wanted it to do.

I have found programming as intellectually challenging as medicine and as satisfying.

I think people that sit on a computer all day have to know programming.

Otherwise they are just throwing a chunk of their life away unnecessarily.


When I graduated from university in 1997, I had a degree in Computer Science and Combinatorics & Optimization. I had enjoyed coding and really liked problem solving, so I sort of saw for myself a career as a software developer that would let me use my skills, both what I explicitly learned and the skills I had developed over the years. My grades weren't quite good enough to get me into grad schools and the dot-com boom was going on, so it seemed like a good thing to jump in on.

JB King

Well, I had a college degree in computer science, so it seemed like a good way to make money. I got the degree because I wanted to learn more about programming, I'd always loved it and started programming in middle school. I didn't think too much about a career, honestly.

Chad Okere

I worked as a research analyst in finance for an year and all I was doing was creating documents and projecting past data into the future. I realised it's going to take 3 years to verify if my projections were right and anyway it was boring. Programming was far more creative and you get to see your output immediately and in most cases, your users actually end up using your product. It's fun when you are learning all the time. Feedback is critical for learning and in programming you get immediate feedback.


I originally wanted to do game development. I did a lot of learning on C++ for it. Never made any games, but came out with an awesome skill set that I was able to get a job with.


I started programming when I was 9 and since I can't do anything else for money I have no other choice but program. In fact, as I grow and can build more complex things, my enjoyment of getting something hacked together grows over time as well.


Personally, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Once I got started, I realised that I absolutely loved it. There's so much about being a programmer that I love - Problem solving, exercising my creativity, flexible hours and there's always something new to learn.

I guess the only downside is that 90% of the time that I'm awake, I'm thinking about programming. It is really hard to put it aside.

Simon Hartcher

I wanted to create something. And for me it was writing or programming. I was better at programming so I choose programming.

Nikola Stjelja
+1  A: 

It was all because of a contest

Back in school I wanted to be a lot of things, but being a programmer didn't figure in the list. I was interested in programming though, just not professionally.

In high-school I participated in a couple of city-level programming contests and the won them. That set my path I guess.

I've always loved programming and the fact that the users of my software say they love 'em makes the job even more delicious. I like working on new technology, and these days I am getting plenty of opportunity to do that.

How much of my life is programming?

-- The first thing I do when I wake up is switch on my PC
-- The last thing I do before going to bed is switch off my PC.

It's the greatest job in the world!

Cyril Gupta
I don't switch off, my computer is my morning alarm too, and I don't need to switch on after ! :p
Nicolas Dorier

In short: Because I love it!

Juan Manuel

I did actually not chose it. I was led to, since people around me saw I was able to do so, even at my very young age (at that point).

You might want to have a look at this excellent reading , last blogpost of Jeff Atwood.


Went to college to be an Electrical Engineer - it never 'clicked' for me. Took a required programming class (pascal) and it all "just clicked"...I don't think I chose programming as a chose me.


I love programming because I keep on finding new challenges, while learning new techniques and technologies.

Actually the real motivation is that I can pay my bills and start potential future business. Planning to create something that some company/somebody will buy for bzillionss of dollars. Or at least free from working and use SO all the time.


In my case it's the education system and the trend to begin with and a personal liking at the end.

Till Class X, I was one of the toppers. It was a trend that top 20% of people chose Science for Class XI and Class XI, the rest chose Commerce/Arts fields. I chose Science.

In Class XI, Class XII, I was again one of the better scores there. And I could either go into medical field or engineering. I was interested in medical field, but did not choose it because it required more money as compared to engineering and that I could not afford it. So it was engineering I had to choose.

As I was one of the better scorers, I could get into one of top universities, and then there was this trend that people would select specialization in this order. Computer science, Eletronics, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and so on. So as I had Computer sciece seat available in a good university, I chose computer science.

During my computer enginnering tenure, I developed a love for programming and now I am a software developer.

Before joining engineering, I had very little idea of what I was about to find out in computer enginering, but, now I am glad that I took that decision and glad about about the way situation made me take enginnering(computer) than getting into medical field.

As they say everything happens for a reason.

Chandan .

It's my mistake. :) Anyway, I learn to love it somehow. ;)


I wanted to be a poet but my poetry sucked.

My Mom wanted me to become a doctor, but I didn't enjoy dissecting the pig in biology class and the thought of doing this on humans was ...a little sickening.

My Dad was a physicist and I had some talent for that, but frankly I had no chance as someone dabbling in pre-med and Engish against guys taking nothing but math and physics courses.

Luckily I remembered a friend told me (a Berkeley EE grad) that I would probably be good at programming, since I liked to play GO and was good at that. I tried a few programming courses and was hooked.

Larry Watanabe

it had me at hello world.


Because my hands are not enough more than touch keyboard and click mouse. (and I like it ofcourse)

Vaclav Kohout

Programming allows me to be creative, and methodological/scienc-ey at the same time! its brilliant. i dont think i ever dreamed of doing another profession. Its like "have some free money while you do the same things as you would do at home". whats not to like? obviously the day to day is not as fun, especially if your writing software that you dont beleive in. but its better than cleaning out keyboards for money. Plus it is SO applicable. one day you could just come home and say "ok, now i want to build a mini GIS program, or music software, or 3d graphics, or data mining app that runs over a cluster at home. and you could go and sell it. it's a very liberating feeling.


I enjoy when you build and run and you get something interesting and useful. You can copy paste your work(or somebody else's). You never damage anything during development. +++

BTW I came in this profession by chance:)

I am in software development (not only programming, but I like the whole spectrum) because:

  1. I am quite good in "working with computers" and think it is fun to do
  2. I seem to have the correct thinking pattern to solve complex problems you will encounter as developer (believe me I have seen many developers fail because they could not get their head around a problem because they did not think in the correct abstract way).
  3. I like making products/solve problems which makes the end users happy. I therefor like working on public applications/websites
  4. I am an out-of-the-box thinker, meaning I have been very valuable in many projects, this keeps my job fun for me, but also fun for my employer.
  5. There are many different tasks/jobs in the IT world, from hardcore-development, project management, consulting and teaching. All these jobs have things I would like to do and that makes it fun, because I can widen my job profile (it could also be that I can't choose ;) )
  6. The abstract and problem solving way of working is fun and I like doing it (and seem to be quite good in that)

But to be honest I am also (a bit) in it for the money and other advantages you will have as a good software engineer.

But I rather prefer the term software development/engineering because I personally think there is more to software then only programming. Of course there are people who only program what they are told to do, but I also like to think outside of the box and like to "touch" the other parts of software creation/project management too.