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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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  • Ted Dziuba (Score:5, Insightful)

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


    Who cares?

    • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:36PM (#29712969) Homepage


      Also: LAST POST!

      • by masshuu ( 1260516 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:26PM (#29713353)

        Last post Denied.

        Also anyone wanna know a more interesting article om /. ?


        I really don't get it. I looked around, and i can't see why this guy made it onto /.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Slow news day, of course. It's SUNDAY. Ask timothy - it was a toss up between the Ted Zuby story, and the one I submitted. "My 85 year old mother in law figures out Gmail: The wife finally convinced her that it wasn't just another pr0n movie from France."

        • 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: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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:39PM (#29712997)

      We might know him if he was coding something awesome in his free time, but he's not.

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:47PM (#29713035)

      http://www.linkedin.com/in/teddziuba [linkedin.com]

      As far as I can tell, he's a 26 year old programmer/blogger who doesn't much like to program in his free time.

      I'm not sure why I'm supposed to care, but whatever.

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

      by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:51PM (#29713071) Journal


      Apparently, he's a big shot from YetAnotherDotCom. Why, I'll bet he's almost half as famous as the next random poseur.


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

        by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:15PM (#29713287)

        A big shot YetAnotherDotCom who has a very confusing self identity.

        It looks like he graduated in 2006... which is when I graduated and I'm 23. But then he posts this:

        "I love it when twenty-something engineers take such a hard-line position on something they have so little experience with, like hiring. Saying that you wouldn't hire somebody for a programming job because they don't program in their spare time is blissfully naive. Yeah, I remember the days when my greatest responsibility to another human being was making rent on the first of the month."

        Wait what? "Remember the days?" Wasn't that like... last year?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shirai ( 42309 )

      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

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Swampash ( 1131503 )
        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 interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:55PM (#29713111)



      Who cares?


      And then pretty please tell me if it answers your questions, because I sure as hell don't know who TD is or care, so no way am I going to RTFA.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by turgid ( 580780 )

        because I sure as hell don't know who TD is or care

        But he says "F***" in public on the intertubes and so he must have a large amount of courage and really know his own mind. He probably already drives a BMW and is fighting off hordes of gorgeous young women with an excrement-covered stick as we speak.

        Wouldn't we all want to be this dude?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by schmu_20mol ( 806069 )
      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 standa
  • Obvious (Score:3, Funny)

    by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:37PM (#29712981)
    If he doesn't code in his spare time, obviously he won't find himself working anywhere that only hires people that do.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:39PM (#29712995)
    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 SerpentMage ( 13390 ) 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.

    • by zmooc ( 33175 ) <(zmooc) (at) (zmooc.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.

    • I been resisting offers to do technical writing since I write fiction in my off times.

      Have you considered marketing? ;)

  • 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?


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Megane ( 129182 )
      ...or you wouldn't go to a barber who doesn't cut his own... oh, wait. Let's stick with the gardener analogy.
    • 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.

  • No worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linker3000 ( 626634 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:48PM (#29713045) Journal

    I don't read Ted Dziuba's articles in my free time...or when I am working, actually.

  • 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?

  • 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: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.

  • 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 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 jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> 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.


  • Pffft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Korey Kaczor ( 1345661 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:02PM (#29713191)

    You want to know how I learned Haskell? By doing project euler problems... DRUNK. See, this guy is all hoity-toity about going to the bar on weekends.... I bring the bar to ME, then I go out into the trenches, a little bit of beer, and solve those project euler problems after 5 beers minimum.

    Nothing like a 12 pack and a functional, correctly solved project euler problem to separate the men from the boys.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by martas ( 1439879 )
      heh. when I was a kid, our father made us learn Haskell after 18 hours of working at the factory, while high on heroin, and riding a tricycle, ON STONE TABLETS!
  • Scrabble (Score:5, Funny)

    by Linker3000 ( 626634 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:11PM (#29713253) Journal

    He probably spends most of his spare time writing to the makers of Scrabble trying to persuade them that surnames should be allowed as legitimate words.

  • 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.

  • Does Not Compute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zmooc ( 33175 ) <(zmooc) (at) (zmooc.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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye