Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming

Ted Dziuba Says, "I Don't Code In My Free Time" 619

Posted by timothy
from the your-allotment-of-seconds-on-earth dept.
theodp writes "When he gets some free time away from his gigs at startup Milo and The Register, you won't catch Ted Dziuba doing any recreational programming. And he wouldn't want to work for a company that doesn't hire those who don't code in their spare time. 'You know what's more awesome than spending my Saturday afternoon learning Haskell by hacking away at a few Project Euler problems?' asks Dziuba. 'F***, ANYTHING.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ted Dziuba Says, "I Don't Code In My Free Time"

Comments Filter:
  • Ted Dziuba (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bitemykarma (1515895) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:33PM (#29712947)
    Who?

    Also:

    Who cares?

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:36PM (#29712973)

    ... in computers. Isn't that worth something when weighing up job candidates? Sorry , but if this guy doesn't realise that someone who is interested in what they do as a day job will probably put in more effort that someone who's just a clock watching for-the-money type then frankly he's an idiot. This rule applies to ANY profession, not just programming.

  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:39PM (#29712995) Homepage
    When I worked as a spaghetti cook and eating spaghetti every night for three years, I didn't eat spaghetti for the next seven years.

    When I worked as video game tester for six years, I very rarely played video games at home. After 40 to 80 hours a week testing games, I wanted to do something different with my time.

    I been resisting offers to do technical writing since I write fiction in my off times. An ideal job is one that you can separate from your personal life.
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:41PM (#29713017)

    But not coding in your free time also shows balance.

    If you assume that X straight hours will lead to a greater risk of burnout, then reducing X by not coding when you don't have to could allow you to remain fresh for when you have to put your code on the line.

    This is analogous to the proverb stating the difference between Europeans and Americans:

    "Americans live to work, but Europeans work to live"

  • by LainTouko (926420) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:43PM (#29713019)
    Coding in your spare time whilst not working with computers or unemployed shows an interest in computers. Coding in your spare time when you're already coding for 40 hours a week for your job suggests more of an obsession.
  • Gardeners (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Allicorn (175921) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:45PM (#29713027) Homepage

    I mean, you wouldn't hire a gardener who had a garden of his own - would you?

    Schmuck.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:46PM (#29713031)

    "But not coding in your free time also shows balance"

    Not really. Theres a huge difference between someone who spends maybe a few free hours a week doing his own thing learning some new techniques or programming some fun thing for himself or whatever, and the kind of basement dwelling hermit who really has no social skills or life outside the computer screen. The first person is the type you should hire, the 2nd is the type you should usually avoid.

    Otherwise you might as well say that Ferrari should only hire race drivers who have no real interest in driving or airlines should only hire pilots who have no interest in flying outside of sitting in a 737 pilot seat monitoring systems for 3 hours.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:49PM (#29713053) Homepage

    He has kids.

    Those of you who don't have kids, won't get it.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:50PM (#29713063)

    I'm sure brain surgeons read medical journals and go to symposiums outside of their normal working hours.

  • by Megane (129182) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:50PM (#29713067) Homepage

    So he would want to work for those who do hire people who don't code in their spare time? Or would want to work for those who don't hire people who do code in their spare time? Or what?

    And Who's on first, right?

  • Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:51PM (#29713075) Homepage
    Personally I try to avoid companies that care that much about what I do in MY time in general. If I'm not on the clock, its none of your fucking business. If I decide to learn a new language on my own, it is irrelevant until I start using it at work, in which case I expect my going above and beyond to be noticed. If it is required that I learn something new for work, I sure as hell had better be paid by the company for it one way or another (even if it just means doing the learning during company time).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:51PM (#29713077)

    I agree with Ted - you can code in your dungeon, or you could go out, make friends, play with your kids, work on your hobbies, volunteer at a charity, learn how to cook, make a well rounded life for yourself.

    Code probably fulfills a need to do puzzles and keep the brain entertained, but the world is so much bigger, and computers aren't going to keep you happy in your old age.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shirai (42309) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:51PM (#29713079) Homepage

    This is a response to these other postings.

    Somebody asked this question on reddit
    http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/9s3ww/would_you_hire_a_programmer_that_does_not_write/ [reddit.com]

    A while ago my company interviewed someone who, in the course of some standard question, said that after the 5 o'clock whistle blows, they avoid computers totally. They don't have any hobbies involving their PC and often don't turn it on unless they are expecting an important email or need to look up directions. I followed up to ask how they got into programming and they said they took the right courses in college and now has had a few jobs doing it.

    Would you hire a software engineer who isn't a hobbyist programmer? What if they avoid computers totally at home? Does it matter if a candidate has strictly a professional interest in software and just pretends it doesn't exist outside the office?

    And was answered with this:

    http://github.com/raganwald/homoiconic/blob/master/2009-10-08/no_hire.md [github.com]
    No, I Wouldn't Hire a Programmer That Has No Interest in Programming Outside of Business Hours

    Here's another way to frame this question: Would I even interview a programmer who only works their programming job from 9-5? If not, why not?

    The answer is remarkably simple. No, I would not interview them, for the simple reason that I don't know who they are and they don't know who I am. When I am hiring, my first and best source of prospective colleagues is my network. Industry people I know. Where do I get to know people? Conferences. Open source. Blogging. Twitter. I don't advertise my job openings on monster.com. So how did this person come to sit in front of me to tell me he(?) pretends software doesn't exist outside of the office?

    I think you have to align your values with your complete hiring process, not just with your interview questions. If you value people who are passionate about their craft, you have to use a different means of selecting prospects than if you value having warm bodies sitting in chairs. If you want a warm body with a certain minimal competence in a chair, you use monster.com and recruiters to find people. if you value community and craft, you use your network and your community.

    Done this way, questions like the above tend to take care of themselves.

  • by dunkelfalke (91624) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:52PM (#29713081)

    most of people read some book.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:54PM (#29713103)

    If you let your kids take over your entire free time then your not doing yourself or your kids any favours.

  • by Unoti (731964) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:54PM (#29713105) Journal

    But not coding in your free time also shows balance.

    Perhaps, but never coding in your free time, not ever, and saying that you've never enjoyed writing code to explore or learn something: that shows a distinct lack of balance.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:55PM (#29713109)

    My tram ride to work takes 40 minutes. Honestly, what am I going to do with that time? I have a eeepc 701 loaded with ubuntu. On the tram I write code. It makes the commute bearable for me,

    If you can't see what else you could be doing with that time other than coding the I would suggest that you need to step back from it and take a look at the bigger picture. But don't take this as meaning I am saying you shouldn't code - just that you should be aware of the tradeoffs you are making in order to code.

  • Odd (Score:1, Insightful)

    by LSD-OBS (183415) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:55PM (#29713113)

    So he's saying he doesn't like programmers who enjoy what they do? Interesting.

    I've never known a *good* programmer who doesn't write code as a hobby.

  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:58PM (#29713145) Homepage
    I enjoy doing desktop and help desk support at work. I would enjoy it less if I had to do that at home.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:58PM (#29713147) Homepage

    Work is the boring stuff. You're fixing tedious bugs in tedious applications dealing with tedious real world problems like the cover page of the new TPS report. It's like a ski instructor that have to deal with all the horribly inexperienced people doing things all wrong or at least it's nothing like cruising along freely yourself. Obviously after a long day on the job I understand that this person would just want to go home, eat a pizza and do something completely different. But I'd be concerned about the coder that didn't have any pet projects, any interest in coding outside work like a ski instructor that never just goes skiing. No deadlines, no pressure, no dealing with poor specs, annoying customers or superiors. If you don't ever tinker with anything under those conditions I really don't see you giving it your best during work hours either. I don't mean that you need to have a long list of "public" off-hours coding experience that can be validated and put on your CV, just as a personality treat.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:05PM (#29713205)

    I think the key here is is the person interested enough in coding that they are willing to keep improving themselves as a programmer versus someone who just programs enough to "do their eight and out the gate", and has little interest in much other than making the deadlines.

    It is a tough balance: On one hand, life has far more to offer than just spending time coding work stuff 24/7 and being essentially a one trick pony. On the other hand, one needs to keep some interest in their occupation and perhaps continuing to grow in it, to keep at a professional standard. It is easy to get stagnant in the computer industry, so keeping with the times is important.

  • by Mascot (120795) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:06PM (#29713215)

    When you're looking to hire a gardener, do you examine his previous work, or do you make sure he spends at least x hours a day tending his own garden?

    If you do the latter, you're the bigger schmuck.

    I'd also like to point out, that this Ted fellow did not say "I'd never work someplace where any of the other employees code at home". He says "I don't want to work someplace where coding at home is _a requirement_". There's a big difference.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:2, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:09PM (#29713239)

    Who?

    A man with a life, apparently.

    Also:
    Who cares?

    Oh crap, the nerds are reaching for the torches and pitchforks...

    (Before you mod me down, ask yourself if any of what I wrote is not true. Read some of the posts below mine if you're not sure.)

  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:09PM (#29713241) Homepage

    But not coding in your free time also shows balance.

    If my free-time code were anything like my for-work code, then maybe. But that's rarely the case (and when it is, it's because I'm working on a particularly cool project at work.)

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:24PM (#29713331) Homepage
    This is assuming there are only two extremes. Those who code non-stop and those who don't code at all. There are all sorts of levels in between.

    It would cause warnings for me if someone said they refuse to code in their free time. I don't expect them to do it all the time (that's a bit weird too) but if they love what they do then, at some point, they should do it in their free time.
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:25PM (#29713345)
    >If you let your kids take over your entire free time then your not doing yourself or your kids any favours.
    I'm guessing you're not a parent?
  • Does Not Compute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zmooc (33175) <zmooc@z m o o c.net> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:37PM (#29713405) Homepage

    What this guy probably doesn't know, is that just about all coders that actually are any good at their job, love the endless unlimited possibilities their knowledge provides so much that they simply don't give a fuck about whether somebody is paying them to do it or not. They _HAVE_TO_CREATE_. They _HAVE_TO_SOLVE_PROBLEMS_. They simply cannot be stopped.

    While there may be many not-so-good programmers that love to code in their spare time, I have actually _NEVER_ met any good programmer/engineer/developer/whatever that DOESN'T WANT to code in their spare time. I don't think they exist. However, I do think many exist that THINK they're a good programmer. Probably this Ted Dziuba guy is one of them. I'd never hire him.

  • by zmooc (33175) <zmooc@z m o o c.net> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:45PM (#29713479) Homepage

    None of those jobs involve creating anything. They're just labour. No creative input allowed. You're only doing it because robots aren't advanced enough to do it. They're work. Work sucks.

    I've long tought the ideal job is one that you can separate from your personal life, but in the end that's just about all it's about: the possibility of separating job and personal life has to be there. In all jobs. But really the ideal job is the one that's so much fun you don't even care about where the job ends and the personal life starts. And the other way around as well. Unfortunately there aren't enough jobs like that, leaving many people stuck on the 'the ideal job is the one I can forget about when I get home'-situation. But that's just because you haven't found the right job yet. Or because you've simply given up.

    If you're spending a major part of your life doing something you'd rather completely forget about once you get home, you DO NOT HAVE THE IDEAL JOB.

  • by int69h (60728) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:47PM (#29713489)

    He's 26. He has ~3 years professional experience. What exactly qualifies as years of experience in your eyes, because from where I'm sitting he's a green horn. Not that I agree with the notion that you have to code in your offtime to be worth a crap.

  • by geekboy642 (799087) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:47PM (#29713493) Journal

    On the other hand, when working as a programmer I found coding some personal project for the sheer enjoyment of it to be a very welcome break from the old 8-to-6 grind of writing getters and setters. Just watching TV or reading a book didn't going to cleanse my mental palate as well as getting to tweak my Mandelbrot renders again. But then, I'm not getting a CS degree to increase my salary, I'm getting it because it's fun as hell.

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:55PM (#29713559)

    Perhaps, but never coding in your free time, not ever, and saying that you've never enjoyed writing code to explore or learn something: that shows a distinct lack of balance.

    ... distinct lack of creativity and/or distinct lack of drive to explore

    Dude thinks he's not boring, because he puts down what non-boring people like to do, and all put downs make you cooler, right? But, the real world doesn't work that way.

  • by TheLostSamurai (1051736) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:57PM (#29713577)

    Otherwise you might as well say that Ferrari should only hire race drivers who have no real interest in driving or airlines should only hire pilots who have no interest in flying outside of sitting in a 737 pilot seat monitoring systems for 3 hours.

    I don't suppose you've met very many 737 pilots have you? Flying a 737 or other large aircraft is like driving a bus in the sky. For most, at least of the 10 or so I know personally, flying may have once been a great passion but it has been replaced as something they do as a job.

    As far as the article is concerned, I am a programmer, a damn good and distinguished one as a matter of fact, but my experience has taught me that in order to lead a healthy and productive life, there needs to be balance. Which for me, means leaving my work at work, and enjoying other interests in my off time. Don't get me wrong, I still have a great passion for programming, but like I said, I need balance. I would also wager that the majority of programmers who do a lot of coding in their spare time are fairly young in the craft. Once you get about 10-15 years experience of busting your ass day in and day out as a programmer, most will begin to find out that need other things in their life outside of programming.

    Then again, I've met quite a few other programmers that really just had nothing better to do with their spare time.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LandDolphin (1202876) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:04PM (#29713641)
    I wouldn't hire, or work for, a person who treats programming as a 9 to 5 activity. Life is short, and the craft so long to learn.

    Really? Even if the person was more skilled & knowledgeable than you?
  • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot AT davidgerard DOT co DOT uk> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:04PM (#29713643) Homepage

    That said: I'm a sysadmin. My work machines run beautifully, my own laptop is held together by the stickers ... a lotta mechanics' cars are the same. *They* can drive them, no-one else is safe to.

    The household network is pretty functional, though. And the teenagers' Windows boxes are locked the hell down, the kids' accounts are unprivileged user and their mother has the admin password ...

  • he won't be (Score:1, Insightful)

    by r00t (33219) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:20PM (#29713739) Journal

    The point is that you can be pretty darn sure that the person is NOT more skilled or knowledgeable.

    Though imperfect, desire to hack on personal projects is a damn good lameness filter.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Skal Tura (595728) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:27PM (#29713781) Homepage

    Just shows how little experience you have.

    I'm 25, but my first coding experience was 22 years ago. I've been coding for 14-15 years now, out of which about 10 daily. I could careless to code on my free time aswell, i know the "craft" very well already, i consider coding mostly rather simple task, where the biggest challenges lies in design, particularly data structural design most of the time (Try managing terabytes of higly relational and dynamic data, in a realtime web environment.).

    I see newbies with just couple years of experience, and i find quite often that tasks they are taking 2 days to complete i could do in 2hrs or less.

    The real trick is to understand that coding is actually learning, and your job is to learn as much as possible. If i were you, i would work for FREE on your sparetime, what is what you are essentially doing. The occasional book is still ok, just remember to stick it to times you have nothing else to do (ie. commute using public transportation).

    Your spare time is your RELAXATION time, so you are fresh and good to go the next morning. You don't get to relax if you keep on using your brain power at close to max levels 24/7, your brain aswell needs rest to rejuvenate, and especially to actually learn something. You need to take care of your brain by providing it different kind of stimulus, and proper down time. FYI, i know what it is like when you don't give time for your brain to rejuvenate, and it's a nasty bitch, but fortunately cured by good long night sleeps for sometime. (In my case couple weeks min. 11hr night sleeps + naps)

  • by twoDigitIq (1352643) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:28PM (#29713791)
    twoDigitIq says: "I don't have any free time. I'm always coding. I haven't had a day off in a fucking month." And again, nobody gives a shit when he says that.
  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:28PM (#29713797)

    An ideal job is one you enjoy. If you enjoy coding in your spare time, then coding is your ideal job.

    Sure; however, the reverse isn't necessarily true -- if you don't enjoy coding in your spare time, coding could still be your ideal job.

    I coded a lot in my spare time before becoming a full-time coder; now I do it in my spare time very little. I enjoy coding, but 40+ hours of it in a week is generally enough for me. I still spend more time coding in a week than I spend doing probably anything else, and I still enjoy my work, but, for me (and some other people, I'd wager), that's enough. It's something I enjoy doing, and it's something I enjoy doing probably more than anything else that I can get paid for, but it's not the only interest in my life.

  • Old example (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ivoras (455934) <(ivoras) (at) (fer.hr)> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:28PM (#29713799) Homepage

    There's an old example / argument about this issue and it goes like this: "Would you hire (or go to) a neurosurgeon who practices in his spare time [wikipedia.org]?".

    It's a little extreme but I feel it gets the point through - creative yet sensitive work makes people burn up faster.

  • Re:he won't be (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LandDolphin (1202876) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:32PM (#29713813)
    The point is that you can be pretty darn sure that the person is NOT more skilled or knowledgeable.

    You don't know that. Doing something for ~8 hours a day can lower ones intensity to do it in their "free time".
  • Re:Yeah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:36PM (#29713833)

    What about a car mechanic who enjoys working on cars, will do the job to the best of his ability because it's a matter of personal pride, and gets paid for it?

    You don't get to pretend that a greedy, unethical moron is the only alternative to somebody who spends their spare time programming. Nothing about programming in your spare time means you'll take more pride in your work than somebody who does it when paid; nothing about doing it for a living means you don't enjoy working on it in your non-spare time; nothing about being paid means that your only satisfaction is the money.

    Maybe if he were independently wealthy, he'd program in the hobbyist manner for 30 hours a week, but since he does that much programming at work, he's entirely fulfilled in that regard. Or maybe he wouldn't, because it could be that he likes and takes professional pride in programming, but he likes long cross-country hiking trips even more (but sadly for him, nobody will pay him for that), so he does that in preference to programming.

    If you read the article, it sounds like the "Ted" that wrote it is in the second category, where he enjoys programming but not to the exclusion of enjoying other things. ALSO, turns out he's interested in automotive repair in his spare time, so what do you know about that. You'll also find that he's an incredible asshole and proud of it, which *is* a reason I'd avoid hiring him.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skal Tura (595728) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:40PM (#29713861) Homepage

    No, you don't stop growing. If there's no significant personal growth involved in your day job, and you work on IT, you are working at the wrong place. You are probably doing some tedious, rudimentary task. Or can't do more.

    All of IT, especially coding, is a job where your actual job is to learn as much as possible, to provide the best possible solution, for the least amount of actual work. Intelligent laziness for the win! Simplified means: Keep it simple, Stupid, or the KISS principle on pragmatic level.

    It takes any idiot to make things more bigger, more complex but it takes a real genius to make things simpler.

  • Simple reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:46PM (#29713903) Homepage

    If you don't program in your spare time, you either:
      - Don't touch computers in your spare time, meaning I will sometimes need to explain to you how to open the Internet. I don't want you to work in the same department as me.
      - or - Don't use programming to solve problems on your computer at home. Why should I expect you to see programming as a solution to problems you spot at work? Sounds like someone who would either say "that's not part of my job description!" or who (more importantly) wouldn't think to mention it, since they'd never even think of applying their supposed skills to a problem.
      - or - at the very least, have no experience programming outside of whatever niche you've been stuck in for the past five, ten, fifteen, etc, years. The job was for "C Programmer" not "The macros and function library of a specific twenty-year-old example of bit-rot Programmer"

    It's also worth noting that everyone who says they don't program at home does horribly on the rest of the interview, without fail, while most people who say they do program at home wind up doing quite well.

  • by TangoMargarine (1617195) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:49PM (#29713931) Journal
    Geez man, lighten up.
  • Re:he won't be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:53PM (#29713953)

    You don't know that. Doing something for ~8 hours a day can lower ones intensity to do it in their "free time".

    What I've found is that I`m more inclined to work on the opposite of what I do at work.

    I worked at a place where the code base was a disaster .. there was no planning or design work.. no requirements management.. no semblance of order to anything (though we were working to fix that) .. and I found in my free time I enjoyed coding in a very designed and managed way.. kind of refreshing to work on nice tidy Java code.

    Now I work at pretty much the opposite. Every line of code is reviewed and re-reviewed.. then the review process is reviewed and a binder of documentation is produced tying it to the requirements, testing, and phase of the moon. The design process of even a simple change can take months followed by (literally) years of testing. And when I get home.. I immerse myself in Perl and just "code the damn thing already".

    On the original point.. it's been my experience that while there are some programmers who are very good at their job despite treating it like a 9 to 5 .. the vast majority of good coders I know at least dabble with stuff at home. I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask what (if any) projects a person works on at home. I wouldn't use it as a sole judge of whether they are a good candidate.. but it would certainly factor into things.

    As for what a person does (non programming) in their off time.. again.. I think perfectly reasonable. Also on the table in my opinion are what their favourite classes in high school were, what books/movies that like, what music, what they do with their friends on a Friday. When you hire someone into a team.. you arn't just hiring an automaton that is capable of performing a set list of tasks. I've met brilliant programmers whom I'd pass over for a high school kid.. because despite being good at their job.. they would have been a negative person to have around and would make work hell (yes.. having a fun and happy work environment is important..)

  • by int69h (60728) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:03PM (#29714017)

    Please note that I did say "professional experience". This was not by accident or to make my post appear longer.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:5, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettwNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:03PM (#29714023) Journal

    I'm 25, but my first coding experience was 22 years ago.

    Playing with the Speak and Spell doesn't qualify as "coding".

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:13PM (#29714101) Journal
    No, a man who is so insecure about having a life that the fact not coding is essential to maintaining this self belief. I realised a while ago, the defining your self image in terms of things you aren't and things you don't do is not a good way of being happy.

    I code in my spare time. I also dance salsa and tango and play badminton and ultimate frisbee in my spare time. This evening I was teaching a beginners' tango class and then attending a more advanced one. Before that, I was writing code, after that I was posting on Slashdot. All of these are things I find fun. If I left the coding and the posting on Slashdot off that list, then I'd probably sound less like a geek, but I don't really have a problem with people knowing I'm a geek (well, I can't really hide it on Slashdot, but I don't mind people in the real world knowing either).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:05PM (#29714341)

    If you DON'T let your kids take over your free time (and enjoy it most of the time) then you shouldn't have had kids in the first place.

  • Re:he won't be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zoloto (586738) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:17PM (#29714387)
    This guy sounds similar to myself. If the job is a 9-5 coding, I don't want to spend my free time coding. If my 9-5 is working on cars, I don't want to spend my free time working on cars. If my 9-5 is being a doctor, I don't want to spend my free time working in the clinic.

    It comes to preferences. My job is a job. Not a career. Not a stepping stone. Not a direction to a greater path in my field. Once I've reached a particular spot and I'm happy and/or comfortable with it - that's it. But when all is said and done and I come home for the day, I have more important things to worry about like my family, my hobbies and/or what other fun things I want to do. Not sitting on my arse in front of a computer. Not unless I need to, and those needs are defined by staying relevant in my field, like all fields. Medical, programming, mechanic etc. All else is purely extra and it sounds like this guy doesn't want that extra to be on the computer like a hobby. Can't fault him for that.
  • by kklein (900361) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:22PM (#29714413)

    Those of you who don't have kids, won't get it.

    I know, because it's not like we don't have any siblings with kids or friends with kids or were kids ourselves. We know nothing about kids, or parenting, or... what is it you call it? Family?

    Please never, ever, ever say this. It is so unbelievably insulting. I actually can think of a couple childless people I know who seemed to be clueless about the lifestyle of coworkers with kids, but I can count them on one hand.

    No, I don't know personally what it's like to be responsible for someone's physical and emotional well-being, but I've seen it done, and it looks pretty hard. I don't whine about coworkers with kids until it seems like they use it as a blanket excuse for why they can't do anything even when every other parent is fine with it. You know exactly what I'm talking about (unless you're the one who is always dropping the ball "because of the kids"). It's a mean trick to play on someone, to make them feel like they are directly harming the development of a little child by asking that someone pull their weight.

    Then there's the other side. My wife and I can't have kids. That's okay with us; we've gotten over being depressed about it, and have just decided to be active with our families in other ways in the hopes that maybe a niece or nephew might visit us in the nursing home, or at least pick up our ashes. But try selling that to a boss if you don't have kids. People without kids still have families and still want to be connected to them, but unless those family members fell out of your own crotch, they don't really count. It's not like I'm saying "I can't make it to that meeting; my dad has the sniffles." But "Any way I can get out of that unscheduled meeting you threw right in the middle of my family reunion weekend?"

    Ugh, why am I even bothering?

    Those of you who have kids won't get it. ;-)

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ash Vince (602485) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:28PM (#29714437) Journal

    I wouldn't hire, or work for, a person who treats programming as a 9 to 5 activity. Life is short, and the craft so long to learn.

    How many people do you employ directly? What is your position? And do you have a family yet?

    Unfortunately you do not usually find out if someone codes in their free time until after you employ them so is not doing this a sackable offence?

    I have spent many years coding in my free time, but now I have been doing it professionally for several years I rarely find the time. I like to spend my free time doing things I enjoy. I get the impression you have only just started full time work, or have not been there yet since most people I know who work 40 hours a week then spend a few more travelling like to where they work like to make the most of not being there by doing something as different as possible.

  • Re:he won't be (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:41PM (#29714493)

    Sure.. but if you have an auto-mechanic who went to community college, learned his stuff.. and now works at a shop and does a good job.. vs a guy who practically lives and breaths cars and spends his off hours fixing up old wrecks.. who is the better candidate.

    Not saying the first guy is unemployable.. just that people who have found something they love and see the fact that they can make a living at it is as just a nice bonus tend to be better candidates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:59PM (#29714583)
    The managers you work for, to keep their jobs and get raises, are literally vultures these days. If you come up with something really neat, and the bosses think it might somehow fit into what the company might want, to keep YOUR job, you turn it over to them. Unpaid hours of development = the company making profit just so you can keep your job?

    The main reason back in the old days that the unions didn't get so much as a foothold into the tech culture is because tech companies were smart enough to treat their talent really, really well. (If you weren't, well, sorry about your misfortune, but you were in the minority.) You got paid solid pay much higher than the area average, you got full benefits, you had a degree of job security, and you could goof off from time to time and no one held it against you. Over the last 5 years, I've noticed the total number of months I've actually worked for pay drop to literally 6 months a year. I've had "jobs" where I discovered I was competing against an offshore team for consulting teams (and obviously losing because I was unwilling to work for 10 bucks an hour). Benefits? Haven't had even remotely decent coverage for many years. And the last few jobs I've worked, I was (along with my team) highly pressured to "innovate" on my own time in order to keep my job. In order to keep my contract position with no benefits, I was expected to "take ownership" of things on my own time.

    An auto shop is not going to threaten to fire their contract employees if they don't work overtime for free. You won't see that in most industries. But because a lot of developers are basically pussies and won't stand up, get together, and fight back, companies are going to do this more and more because they can get away with stealing the fruits of labor YOU create on YOUR OWN time. No, developers are more willing to lay down, call themselves libertarians, rag on the unions, bitch and moan about having no free hours in their days, cry when they get laid off, and stay in that cycle until they drop dead.

    I'm just surprised that this kid is burned out already. Usually takes several more years of being used like a whore by managers who contribute nothing more than their ability to lie and cover their own asses. He must be REALLY smart.
  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @09:07PM (#29714633)

    I wouldn't hire, or work for, a person who treats programming as a 9 to 5 activity. Life is short, and the craft so long to learn.

    I wouldn't work for someone like you, who expects me to spend all of my free time working without pay. It doesn't matter what the job is or how much you enjoy it - there comes a point where you just get sick of doing NOTHING but X 24/7. I enjoy my job in IT and still do plenty of stuff with computers in my free time........but I also do a hell of a lot of things outside of computers in my free time. Sound like you wouldn't hire me just because I date / spend time with friends / play games (video, board, card, anything) / read non-computer books / write / watch movies / exercise / work on my car / etc.

    Feel free to be the guy who runs around going "I'm so much better than you because I work literally all day every day, even if I'm not getting paid". Why? Because I know that in 20 years, you'll be the one burnt out and just wanting to lay down and die, while I'll be just happy because I used my free time to relax and enjoy life.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @09:33PM (#29714747)

    I wouldn't hire, or work for, a person who treats programming as a 9 to 5 activity. Life is short, and the craft so long to learn.

    Exactly... life is short... I wouldn't work for someone who expects programming to be a 24/7 activity or something other than 9 to 5. Besides, program too many hours a week, you get burned out, disinterested, it dulls the senses, and quality of your work suffers.

    Spending lots of free time having fun and doing things other than programming reduces stress, helps you get your mind off it, so you will be mentally refreshed, and ready to tackle programming with full force when you're actually supposed to be doing it.

    You're basically boxing yourself into hiring people who have not learned the craft.

    Maybe that makes sense for you. You want programmers who have barely yet begun to master the craft, because they know they haven't mastered it yet, and maybe they'll let you pay them chump change instead of proper compensation for the task given them.

    Naturally, these programmers who haven't yet mastered the craft are daunted by difficult tasks and need to kill their free time to try and catch up.

  • by TheLostSamurai (1051736) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @09:55PM (#29714831)

    That's fine that after 10-15 years your craft is no longer your highest interest or priority

    I guess you missed this part of my post:

    Don't get me wrong, I still have a great passion for programming

    You can call it balance, call it experience, and it probably is, but however you parse it, if your productive output is less than that of someone else, you can't fault an employer for choosing someone else, especially someone else at half your salary.

    Who said anything about productive output. You think a coder is more productive if he also programs in his spare time. First, my productive output is as good or better than my other co-workers. (I'm lucky to work with some really great programmers) Second, I would argue that someone who has many outside coding projects may actually be less productive.

    The truth is I have a few outside projects every now and again, but for the most part, I intentionally try to stay away from them so that other things can come into my life. If you are one of those people that spends all of his free time coding, I urge you, take a break. You don't have to do any specific thing, just leave some time open for life to happen.

  • by TheLostSamurai (1051736) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @10:02PM (#29714853)

    So you ONLY program for work now. You NEVER program a small project on your own time, for yourself. Then I would say you have lost the passion. Sure, we can all brag about other stuff we have to do in our lives, if you think that makes you special you are a moron. But somehow I still find time to program, even now.

    Well, you assume that you can't be passionate about the programming you do at work. I love my job and I give it 100% of myself for 40hrs a week, and I am very productive in those 40hrs, but when I go home I just want to relax and let something different happen so that I may have a new experience.

  • by DJCouchyCouch (622482) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @10:26PM (#29714969)
    "If You're Good At Something, Never Do It For Free"
  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @10:34PM (#29715023) Homepage

    Eh.. ever heard of adoption?

    Anyway. Those who have kids understand what it's like to be on both sides (because none of us were born already having kids). Those without kids only understand one side. It's not a personal criticism of you; it's simply a fact. If a fact bothers you, it's more likely that you're attaching your own issues to it.

    Before I had kids, I spent a lot of time helping my sister raise her kids. I thought I knew what it was all about because I was around children so much, but when I had my own I found out how wrong I was. It was different because my child is 100% dependent on me, and I am the one on the hook for keeping him safe, making sure he gets all his stuff done, and making sure he has a future. Watching my sister with her kids was not enough even though they lived with me for 2 years. I wasn't invested in them the way she was. I wasn't responsible even though I was technically caring for them. Watching is simply not the same as doing.

    Adopt a kid and find out what the other side is like.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @11:09PM (#29715265) Journal

    It gets posted because it is inflammatory.

    I don't, personally (in-the-face) know any proper open-source hackers. I do know a few programmers, though, who work professionally in their field. And when the latter group isn't coding for a 40-hour week, they're not at all opposed to coding to make their own life easier. (I don't know if they're particularly opposed to open-source or not, but somehow I suspect that they just can't be bothered with the extra work of maintaining publicly-available packages when all they want is a widget to help them in their own daily life.)

    This guy, though: He's like a professional, career-oriented brick mason, who sits around watching his 150-year-old red brick house crumble around him, while loudly proclaiming "I don't do masonry in my free time. So suck it, fellas!"

    It's illogical, and it's stupid. And Timothy is banking on the fact that we will notice and commence with a myriad of banter (read: pageviews) about the topic.

    Everyone who replied to this (including me!) has been played. Congrats, Timmy.

  • Re:he won't be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tyrione (134248) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @11:39PM (#29715433) Homepage

    The point is that you can be pretty darn sure that the person is NOT more skilled or knowledgeable.

    Though imperfect, desire to hack on personal projects is a damn good lameness filter.

    Every top architect I worked around at NeXT and Apple had families and never programmed outside of work. They were normal.

  • Re:Simple reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:03AM (#29716219) Journal
    Or they're perfectly competent engineers who know how to learn, have interesting and varied projects at work, and have other interests.

    Learning an API doesn't take long. Even learning a new programming language doesn't take long if it's similar enough to one you know. Very few jobs use the same language and API for a particularly long time. The skills they learn in their free time are not all that likely to be relevant to the job that you hire them for. Not programming in your free time doesn't mean not using computers in your free time. Very few problems at home need programming to solve them.
  • by pherthyl (445706) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:36AM (#29716347)

    Turns out my job is my passion, and thus a part of my life. Funny how that works.

  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:50AM (#29716393) Homepage Journal

    This guy sounds similar to myself. If the job is a 9-5 coding, I don't want to spend my free time coding. If my 9-5 is working on cars, I don't want to spend my free time working on cars. If my 9-5 is being a doctor, I don't want to spend my free time working in the clinic.

    On the one hand, I totally get that. In fact, in college I seriously considered not becoming a programmer for a living, specifically because I didn't want to ruin my enjoyment of it...

    On the other hand - I think there are certain advantages to making your work something that you naturally enjoy. It's like Scotty on the old Star Trek. There was that one episode where he got a day off and all he wanted to do was read technical journals related to his job... I can relate to that, too. I didn't start learning about computers so I could get a job as a programmer, I became a programmer because I enjoy computers and I enjoy solving problems. I became a programmer because I wanted to be a programmer - and found it convenient that I could make money with that skill.

    Now as for whether you hire someone based on whether they program in their free time - I'd agree that seems a bit silly. I expect it could be helpful to see what sorts of things they've done (like the programmers' equivalent of a portfolio) but in the end, when it comes to a job, what counts is whether they can and will do the work. Damned if I know how you judge that, though. I'm just a programmer. :)

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:53AM (#29716415) Homepage

    This guy, though: He's like a professional, career-oriented brick mason, who sits around watching his 150-year-old red brick house crumble around him, while loudly proclaiming "I don't do masonry in my free time. So suck it, fellas!"

    Erm, what? No, he's more like a brickie who gets home from his week at work and sits down in front of the TV with a beer instead of immediately running out to the back yard, mixing cement, and starting to build some random piece of wall just because he's got nothing better to do than try pointless exercises with different types of brick he's never used before and, god dammit, will almost certainly never use again. He's the brickie that gets home from work and actually relaxes and spends some time off because he knows that, while there're always new things to learn, he's mastered the basics and some of the advanced techniques in his job and that he's well enough equipped to perform his work well.

    Programming for fun is great if you've got nothing better to do. But once you're doing 40+ hours of something productive a week it starts to lose its shine compared with activities which were actually designed from the start to be fun.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bodrius (191265) on Monday October 12, 2009 @04:03AM (#29716459) Homepage

    This guy, though: He's like a professional, career-oriented brick mason, who sits around watching his 150-year-old red brick house crumble around him, while loudly proclaiming "I don't do masonry in my free time. So suck it, fellas!"

    Not that I would disagree with the rest of your post otherwise, but I'm not sure which 'this guy' you're talking about... Dziuba's blog doesn't fit the description above by any stretch. His point is obvious enough to anyone who bothers to read the first two paragraphs: hiring *only* programmers who spent their free time coding is an absurd criteria - which may seem reasonable to kids right out of college, because they assume 'spare time' is and will be an abundant resource in their life.

    This seems to be a more typical case of the Slashdot summary having nothing to do with the linked article - and the Slashdot editor not bothering to even click on the link before posting.

  • Re:he won't be (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kelnos (564113) <bjt23@corne l l . e du> on Monday October 12, 2009 @04:30AM (#29716541) Homepage

    It comes to preferences. My job is a job. Not a career. Not a stepping stone. Not a direction to a greater path in my field. Once I've reached a particular spot and I'm happy and/or comfortable with it - that's it.

    Sure, that's fine. No one's saying it isn't. It's your choice that your work doesn't overlap with your hobbies.

    But for some people, they do overlap. While it might be limiting to say, "I won't hire someone who doesn't code in their spare time," it does act as a reasonable filter. I think it's safe to assume that the set of people who do code in their spare time has very few bad programmers in it. The set of people who don't code in their spare time, however, likely has a much larger proportion of bad programmers. (You could also say that the average quality in the codes-for-fun group is likely higher.)

    If you have a limited amount of time and energy to deal with hiring, and your applicant pool is large enough, using a "must code for fun" filter saves you some effort by removing a large population of bad (or even just average, probably) programmers. Does that also remove some great programmers from consideration too? Almost certainly... but it's a trade off. It's a filter with a decent number of false positives, but likely very few false negatives.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ildon (413912) on Monday October 12, 2009 @04:35AM (#29716559)

    This is the post that should be +5 insightful. I'm sure there's some brick layers who really do LOVE building things, and have sheds and grills and decks and god knows what else in their back yard to show for it. And there are others who just go home and relax. Period.

  • Re:Article Summary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:36AM (#29716783)

    > If I hire an electrician, I expect his house to have proper wiring.

    All I can say (from personal experience with having a flat in a house where both the owner and the son were electricians) is: good luck with that.

  • Re:Ted Dziuba (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) on Monday October 12, 2009 @07:10AM (#29717059)

    But once you're 40+...

    you also realize that you're not immortal and that there really are better ways to spend some of your precious free time, like, I don't know, with your wife, kids AND a nice cold frosty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @09:03AM (#29717563)

    "I know, because it's not like we don't have any siblings with kids or friends with kids or were kids ourselves. "

    This doesn't count. Unless you have kids of your own, you just don't get it. Having kids isn't just hard - it's fucking very hard. It's probably the hardest thing one can do. It tears down everything you thought about yourself, your spouse, and your life and forces you to rebuild it. from scratch. very quickly. It also significantly changes your priorities. And guess what? You're not number one any more. Coding in my free time? I have trouble enough making time to cut the grass.

    So if you don't have kids, don't act like you know about it.

  • by xycadium (908098) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:22PM (#29720087)
    Almost every business executive who works all week long at 45+ hours a week doesn't want to keep working on the weekend when they get home. They've learned the value of personal time in which you can do whatever you want that doesn't have to do with what you do for the majority of your life's time. I'm totally in agreement with this guy. Who in the hell would want to spend that many hours a week working their ass off coding just to finally get a few days to relax and do something else, ANYTHING else, only to end up doing the same thing. Spending 80 hours a week coding, in any capacity, is a road to all kinds of mental health problems. When the weekend comes (whatever the weekend may be for you), get the hell away from what you do all week and do something else. It will be good for you!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @09:13PM (#29727147)

    You clearly don't get it, and your ignorance is astounding. Get over yourself. Just because you can't have kids doesn't mean you can act like you have a clue. Knowing about parenting is a direct result of doing it every day, not theorizing about it through proxy. And being a child that was parented doesn't suddenly make you understand.

    You are both rude and ignorant. Those of us with kids once had none. We know life before and after. Spending some time with other people's kids somehow makes you understand what parents go through daily? Ridiculous - absolutely arrogant and ridiculous.

    And those of us with kids have to deal with your kind of arrogant idiocy constantly. Thanks for being a stereotype.

Help me, I'm a prisoner in a Fortune cookie file!

Working...