I have been asking myself this question lately. I have been a web developer (in agency and production company) for nearly 5 years now and sometimes I wonder why I willingly submit myself to this (most of the time I am really happy, but sometimes…). Two things come to mind: first, if the timeline has to rape someone, it will be you and secondly it is part of your job description to say no.
Timeline having you in sight
If you think about it, developers are at the end of the production chain. This is a known fact and I still chose this job. This mean that if anyone fucks up before you, it is your time that they are eating up. By fuck up I mean designs not being ready when you’re supposed to start, bad management, bad estimate of time (ok dev can be blamed for this, but I have never seen a place where they actually sit down with you at the end of a project and tell you how you did with your estimate), too many clients reviews, etc. And these things happens; a lot.
You’ll always have to say NO
Yeah, creatives say yes all the time, but they don’t get to actually do the work (ok, ok they do, but creative director offload the work to designer so). They can go crazy with ideas and that’s pretty fun. On the other hand a developer can go crazy with ideas but there is always a little voice in his head telling him that he his shooting himself in the foot. In the end, because of the project timeline, you end up saying no a lot. Way more than you say yes. And after a while, it gets to you. I want to build the best experiences ever too, but not at my expense (or not so much at my expense). I am willing to stay long nights and weekends, but there is a limit.
So that’s why I was asking myself if developers are masochist. Maybe we start out with a taste for pain and hard work. Maybe it’s in our personality. The other question is how long can you put up with it. I have been to a couple places and I have never seen old web developers. Maybe they couldn’t stand it anymore and switched to software dev… I don’t know.
Will I go on being a web developer? Yeah for a couple years. Am I thinking of what comes after? Hell yes!