It is understandable to want a job you enjoy. Most of us will be working into retirement and it’s important to spend our working life doing something fulfilling and fun.
Office jobs get a bad rap for being boring because you are behind a desk all day. But can you still enjoy the work you do from behind a desk?
Is development included in the list of dull jobs? Or is software engineering fun?
Around two-thirds of developers are happy with their role and Software engineering jobs frequently make it into the top ten of job satisfaction surveys. Software engineering offers a challenging, varied, and interesting career for those who enjoy that type of work.
But can software engineering be boring? As with any job, there are benefits and drawbacks to software development.
Let’s explore why software engineering is fun and also take a look at why programming may not be for you.
Is being a software engineer fun?
For the right people, software engineering is a fulfilling and interesting career.
It offers ample room to grow and learn, and there are always new opportunities emerging in the industry.
Let’s take a look at what makes software engineering so exciting as a career choice.
1. Challenging Work
Bringing software to life is like solving a puzzle. Each new feature, improvement, or bug fix, has its challenges. It means web development is rarely easy.
However, once you get to grips with coding it’s these challenges that make software engineering fun.
Implementing an idea from scratch is immensely rewarding, and the challenges you face along the way are just part and parcel. Some of the challenges you may encounter include:
- Meeting the acceptance criteria in the allotted time frame.
- Ensuring the software is user-friendly and can be used by non-technical users.
- Implementing new features without causing issues in the existing code.
- Modifying existing functionality without any knock-on effects.
- Developing effectively within the business constraints e.g. performance, time, legal, and hardware.
- Writing unit and end-to-end test that mimics real use.
- Working through problems and discovering the answer on your own.
If the challenges above sound like your type of thing, you’ll no doubt find software engineering interesting.
The flexibility of software engineering makes it enjoyable.
Many aspects surrounding the role are very pliable.
Dress codes are virtually non-existent. Most companies, outside of corporate banking, give you the freedom to work in whatever you like.
It’s fairly typical for software companies to allow flex time. It gives you the freedom to arrive and come to work at different times throughout the week, as long as you make up your hours. It helps reduce the stress of software engineering and allows you to run errands on the way.
Remote working is incredibly popular in tech. Many companies are now reaching far and wide for talent. It’s perfect for developers as the number of jobs available has increased. Aside from remote working, many software engineers only work one or two days in the office anyway.
Gone are the long mundane commutes every day.
These things combined make software engineering more enjoyable as a career. The flexibility gives you a sense of freedom other careers don’t pay.
The average salary for a software engineer in the U.S. is just over $72,000. That’s not including bonuses and equity.
Salary is related to job satisfaction and the pay you receive as a software engineer makes the job more fun.
Not having to worry about bills and being able to put money aside each month is rewarding.
There is also the potential to develop your own app and earn an incredible amount of money.
If you enjoy figuring out problems and fixing things, you will love software engineering.
It’s one element of the job that is always different. Different features or products require different approaches, so there’s a problem to solve.
Managing to bring code to life by scoping out a problem and writing clean code is what makes software engineering so fulfilling.
Aside from code, you will also have to figure out how to use various tools like GitHub and Postman to help with development, plus get to grips with different processes.
5. Continuous Learning
Around 33% of Americans feel they are in a dead-end job, this is driven partly by stagnation in their current role.
As a programmer, you have to constantly learn to keep up with trends in the industry.
The continuous learning aspect is perfect for those who enjoy picking up new skills.
It makes it unlikely that you will get bored with software development. The biggest buzz you’ll get is from mastering new technology and building something with it!
Whether it’s keeping up with industry trends, transitioning into full-stack, or honing your craft, there’s always something new to learn.
6. Side projects
Side projects are the number one indicator that software engineering is fun.
Most developers love what they do so much that they do it in their spare time for fun. Programming is unique in that people do it all day, then go home and work on side projects in their free time.
Only 20% of workers in the U.S. are passionate about their jobs, so developers are an outlier in that regard.
7. Different Roles
Software development has many different facets. Front-end, back-end, QA, and Dev Ops all offer different careers but fall under the software engineer umbrella.
All require slightly different skill sets that you can acquire as you get more experience.
The ability to progress into different areas and roles is what makes software engineering fun.
Many people will start in one area then broaden their knowledge to become full-stack.
The ability to be able to do this is quite liberating. You don’t get pigeonholed which gives you the freedom to take your career into your own hands.
Will you find Software Engineering fun?
Whether you find software engineering enjoyable all depends on what your version of fun is.
Above we listed a few elements of the job which make it fun and rewarding.
Now we’ll look at the traits you’ll need to be happy as a software developer.
- Curious – you’ll need to be a curious person who enjoys understanding how and why things work. Curiosity will serve you well in front-end development as things change constantly and you’ll always be exploring new technologies.
- Logical – most development jobs require a logical mindset. You’ll need to break problems down and implement them step by step. It requires you to think about an issue from start to finish.
- Adaptable – you’ll need to be adaptable to pick up new skills and keep sharp. The wide range of code you’ll need to produce also means you’ll have to adapt to every problem.
- Team player – as a junior developer you are going to need mentoring from someone more senior. You’ll need to be a team player and enjoy working with others. Being able to take and provide constructive criticism is also incredibly important.
- Good Communicator – despite what pop culture would have you believe, you’ll need fantastic communication skills as a software engineer. Being able to articulate complex problems simply will get you a long way. You’ll also be working with the wider business and need to understand their requirements.
- Resilient – some answers won’t come quickly. It’s important to be resilient and to give up at the first hurdle. If you enjoy sticking to a problem and finding the answer, even after some wrong turns, then programming is for you.
If you have the attributes above, software engineering is going to be fun for you. Developers are all different but I’d argue they share those common traits.
If you are still questioning whether you will find software development fun, check out our quiz below.
It will you tell if a career in programming is for you and point you towards some useful resources to get you started.
Software engineer job satisfaction
Job satisfaction among software engineers is high with the job scoring 4 of out 5 stars on a PayScale survey. Plus, more than two thirds of developers are happy with there componensation packages.
However, job satisfaction for software engineers can be affected by various factors, including compensation, job security, work-life balance, opportunities for professional growth and development, company culture, and the nature of the work itself.
Some software engineers find satisfaction in solving complex problems, creating innovative solutions, and contributing to projects that have a real-world impact. Others value collaboration with colleagues, having autonomy in their work and receiving recognition for their contributions.
Many software engineers enjoy the flexibility that comes with the role, such as the ability to work remotely, choose their own hours, and work on projects that align with their interests and passions. However, it’s worth noting that the fast-paced and rapidly-evolving nature of the tech industry can also lead to high levels of stress and burnout.
Overall, job satisfaction among software engineers is good but can vary widely depending on individual preferences and priorities, as well as the specific company and work environment.
Nathan Britten, the founder and editor of Developer Pitstop, is a self-taught software engineer with nearly five years of experience in front-end technologies. Nathan created the site to provide simple, straightforward knowledge to those interested in technology, helping them navigate the industry and better understand their day-to-day roles.