Is anybody learning to code/program just as a hobby or are most people here looking to change careers?

I’ve done tons of research over the past few weeks, including getting some great feedback from the community here regarding my situation (mid 30s, two degrees under my belt, making pretty good money as a nurse), and I’m not feeling too great about the reality regarding making this an eventual career.

For starters, living in Houston is a major downside as we are likely the worst big city in Texas for tech jobs. It also doesn’t help that our biggest industry, oil and gas, is on a long downturn, resulting in lots of local IT/tech layoffs. Apparently the pay here for developers is worse than Dallas or Austin, and without a more thriving tech industry like Austin has, people without traditional CS backgrounds have a harder time breaking in.

I make good money, and I’m having a hard time stomaching the idea of possibly needing at least a masters in CS (I just can’t see myself going for a 3rd BS) and taking a substantial paycut at that (along with the tens of thousands for undergrad CS prereqs and the MS classes). Maybe all this is just me over thinking things, and I’ll find a health IT related area I can leverage my clinical background to jump over, but I’m not feeling too great about eventual job prospects.

All of that said, I am having fun learning and maybe I can happiness with this just being a hobby. In some ways it seems silly to be spending my free time studying coding like I’m back in school, but hopefully I continue to enjoy it. It’s crazy how all of my usual hobbies have taken a back seat to coding recently.

Anyways, for those of you who are also in this more as a hobby right, why is that? Was that your intention all along or did you decide that coding as a career isn’t a good option for you? What keeps you motivated to keep learning and working without the job/financial rewards many people are eventually seeking?

Thanks all! I always look forward to discussions here!

I personally plan to make a career out of it. Some people might be learning just for fun.

First of all, hello, fellow Texan! I live in the northeast corner of the state near Texarkana.

Second, I’m pretty much in a similar boat. Definitely not a lot of opportunity up here. I’m actually working on my teaching certificate as I am not quite as optimistic as some that I could earn enough as a web developer to pay all my bills.

I have been programming because it is fun, challenging and sometimes comes handy in other situations. On the long term, there’s less learning and more practice, honing. Sure, it’s ffrustrating at times, but it’s a hobby, not a job, so you can easily switch to doing something completely different, sleep things over and eventually resolve things without overbearing outside pressure.

And if you take a light approach, it’s an easily sustainable hobby. As a concrete example, next week will mark my 10 year anniversary of contributing to a Free Software project. It wasn’t a planned commitment, it just happened … because it was rewarding in various ways.

I deliberately didn’t go to study IT, even though I was geekish from a young age. Seemed like a recipe for disaster to share a hobby and a job. Can’t be a sustainable or fun lifestyle for someone that doesn’t want to be a one-trick pony. So I learned other things and my evolving IT knowledge was just an extra tool I could use.

By now I’ve accrued enough experience to be able to consider a career switch, but I’m not that interested in one, it’s just a handy back-up. Or an extreme optimisation — it’s hard to get consistent funding for a non-profit in my country, so I’ve had thoughts of switching careers just so I could pay a person to work in my stead at the NGO, while still being well enough off (good programmers are overcompensated) and helping as a volunteer.

So really, don’t feel pressured to find a new job, it can easily be a great hobby, especially if you become part of a community and work on open source software (preferably not reinventing the wheel).

I’m here for fun. If it turns into profit great if not that’s ok as well.

I’m here to improve my knowledge in React & Node.js. I am already working as a Remote Full Stack Web Developer in Dallas, TX.

As someone who just turned 75, I am doing it to keep my grey cells active. It is hard work but very rewarding. Learning any new skill, helps - no matter what carreer one intends to persue…


Hey lynxlynxlynx and Alex005 and all other :-),

me I have found now really finally my new hobby in coding in this week.
I do something soon in research an the Healthcare IT, but there will nothing be with coding I think.
So I enjoy coding without pressure and I grin while I code.

Yes, maybe one day I’d like to create some nice stuff for NGOs here or I know directly or as you have written “participate” in a Free Software Project and of course if I stay online to help others in coding.

So, I am just curious in learning new languages apart from spoken languages :-).

And something that makes fun is always a good thing, or not?

Kind regards, Verena

I’m retired and am learning just for fun. I started programming in BASIC 2.0 on the Commodore VIC 20. I want to help others while also increasing my own knowledge and maybe program something uber-cool

I code mostly as a hobby, but I won’t lie: it would be nice to someday be able to earn a little money with it.