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

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

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:46PM (#29713029) Homepage Journal

    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,

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:49PM (#29713051)

    It really depends on what you like, no?

    Some people like doing this stuff in their spare time, others not. Though I do agree with the blog entry, "spare time none of my f****g business."

    I personally can't work 7 days a week on the same stuff at work. Not because I don't like it, because I do. But because otherwise I will go stir crazy. I work in the market as a quant-developer. My morning starts at 9:00 CET (European markets open), and ends at 22:00 CET (American markets close). And once 22:00 hits let me tell you I am freaken happy that the day is over. And I am freaken happy once Friday close happens because I can relax until next Monday.

    Oddly our brokerage (Interactive Brokers) does not allow you to log in over the weekend. I wonder if it is a sort of forced vacation... In the beginning I hated that IB closed over the weekends, but now I truly, truly appreciate it.

  • Article Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Unoti ( 731964 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:51PM (#29713069) Journal

    Article summary: Smug douchebag knows it all, or gets to learn it all on the job.

    Good for him. But for normal people who are, say, coding ASP or Visual Basic 6 at work-- if they would like to have some professional development, I hope they're doing some coding on the side to reinvent themselves. People that don't generally end up doing something like working on COBOL systems principally written in the 60's and 70's. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying: most people need to do some personal development off the the side of their job, or else they're stagnating. Plenty of people will disagree with me on this point, and have in the past on Slashdot. But generally speaking, those people have quit growing, and will of course deny it.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Flentil ( 765056 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:51PM (#29713073)
    I think he's trying to show that you don't have to feel bad for not working in your off-hours, as many people seem to think they should, and also speaking out against companies that encourage and possibly mandate this odd behavior through their hiring practices.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:01PM (#29713177) Journal

    I hope they go public so I can short their stock. It's not very often that you get such a clear sell signal.


  • that's business (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jipn4 ( 1367823 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:17PM (#29713289)

    Well, he is right: to succeed in business, you generally don't need to be particularly innovative or high-tech. Hiring average programmers that are easy to work with is probably a better business decision than hiring difficult top-notch nerds. But why go into high tech at all then? If you aren't fascinated by technology and just view the whole thing as a business, you might as well make your money with toilet paper or hamburgers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:38PM (#29713415)

    Yes. That's why we're at work 8 hours a day, then go home. We've worked, we're done. And we all find it hilarious that in the US it seems more common to value how much _time_ you spend at work, instead of what you _do_ while at work.

  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:02PM (#29713619)


    I am a physician (okay, not a brain surgeon, but I do some complex things at work). To the best of my knowledge, all states in the United States require a certain amount of continuing medical education (CMEs). In my current state, it's 100 hours every two years.

    In addition, we are required to sit for the board examinations every 10 years. (So long as you got your degree after the early-to-mid 90s; people who passed the boards before then are good for life.)

    I certainly wouldn't want my hospital to decide which conferences are important for me to go to. Because, chances are, some bureaucrat will be the one making that decision. I'd rather decide on my own what conference is important for me to go to.

  • I read his backlog (Score:3, Interesting)

    by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @06:28PM (#29713785)
    He talks in one post about how his best articles are trolls. The gentleman is proud of the fact. He also seems to have a long history with startups (= long work weeks and usually good opportunities to learn tech to begin with). He might as well have flagged the post as a sensationalist attempt to get blog traffic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:02PM (#29714009)

    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.

    Very well put. But consider the consequence, the question has now become: "Would you hire someone for whom this job would not be the ideal job?"

    And, presumably, the answer to that question should always be: "no". Because, hey, why would you?

    Personally, I've never been in a position to make a final say on hiring, but I don't think I could ever bring myself to hire somebody who states unequivocally that their life stops when then enter the building at 9, and, oh thank god, starts again come 5pm.

  • by beringreenbear ( 949867 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:03PM (#29714015) Journal

    168 comments in, probably no one is going to read this. Still, I'll say it anyway.

    I wouldn't hire someone who had no interest what-so-ever programming in their spare time. That said, I also wouldn't hire someone that does nothing else but program in their spare time. I'm not looking for someone that can solve a general problem (what do I do when I'm not working?) in a specific way. I want a hint that the person I'm talking with during an interview has other interests. I don't want to know what they are. That leads to information I'm not supposed to know during an interview. I just want them to give me an assurance that they are a well-rounded person with other pursuits.

    Myself? Of course I program in my spare time. I also collect books, smoke and collect tobacco pipes, play RPGs (the pen and paper kind) with my friends, play computer games, cook... the list of things I do in my spare time is endless. That's what I'm looking for, because someone who doesn't lack for things to do in their spare time most liely comes with several approaches to solving new problems and that's the type of person I'm looking to hire.

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

    by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:29PM (#29714167)
    The best coder I've ever worked with - like, ever - was a guy who openly professed to hating computers and avoiding them outside work hours where possible. He loved CODE, he just hated computers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @07:41PM (#29714213)

    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.
    That's not true. I have "the ideal job." I enjoy doing what I do (software development), and I telecommute, so I can work from my back porch. However, when 8 hours is up, I'd much rather spend my time playing with my new baby, playing hockey, doing woodworking, going kayaking, or... pretty much anything other than thinking about work. I have so many interests besides work, that I can't even fit them all in.

  • by dirkdodgers ( 1642627 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @09:35PM (#29714757)

    That's fine that after 10-15 years your craft is no longer your highest interest or priority, but that won't matter when someday you get passed over by an employer for someone for who his or her craft is. Given the current economic situation, that someday might be sooner than later.

    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.

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

    by schmu_20mol ( 806069 ) <> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @10:37PM (#29715043)
    OK, I did actually read this blog he wrote and yes I think his position is valid. To summarize: Coding in your free time does not make you a good coder. Neither does not coding in your free time make you a balanced person. Both unrelated, thankyouverymuch. This is all in all a discussion you can have or simply ignore.

    The one point I'd like to make is ... have your read this guys other posts? To summarize: He's a little young fuck with little experience raining down on everyone. It's mixture of the standard troll and Mr. Whiney-Whiney; with a focus on whiney-whiney. Cheers.
  • Re:he won't be (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hobo sapiens ( 893427 ) <ELIOT minus poet> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @11:24PM (#29715347) Journal

    I think you are confusing the issue. What you really want is a mechanic who already knew how to work on cars and went to school for the formality, as opposed to some drunk who flunked out of high school and just wanted to learn a trade to fund his trips to the gambling boat and wound up learning to be a mechanic. Likewise, a programmer who didn't know how to code before school is suspect. Especially those types who went to school for programming cause they heard they could make good money.

    After working on something all day, who in their right mind wants to go home and do the same thing? I love playing music, but after a gig I don't go home and play. I'm tired of it for the day. And I LOVE music, sometimes a bit too much (to the exclusion of my family, something I have to constantly fight to keep in balance). You cannot question my love for music, and being that people repeatedly ask me to play for money means that I must not be too bad at it. But it has its limits.

    I also love programming, but after working on it all day I am ready to go home and do something else. In fact, the people I have known who code at home often have to do so, because they wank all day at work.

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:56AM (#29716433) Homepage
    Actually it does work like that but you have to calculate your continuous, rather than peak, earnings per hour. If you get paid $50/hr and you work 8 hours a day, you're only actually earning $16.70/hour. For it to be a genuine saving to take the helicopter, you'd have to save more than 12 extra hours in the 'copter on that $200 trip. There's a reason we fly rather than drive when we're travelling long distance.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:22AM (#29716747)
    Ever heard of a 'busman's holiday'? Generally, you'll find the opposite of what you want. Builders/decorators have messy homes, electricians have wires hanging out everywhere, engineers have piles of broken stuff in the garage on the 'todo list'.
    When you've spent the day doing x, you don't want to do more of that at home.
    I suppose coding does give you some cop out though, Day time I write standalone apps - never web stuff. So at home, I do web stuff, when I get time, which is rare having a family to keep happy.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith