A few months back I attended a talk given by a .Net friend of mine. Mr.Dotnetworkaholic aka Paul Lockwood at the local chapter of IASA. It was a 2 part talk. The first part was about project estimation and the second was about continuous integration (CI). I am digging CI. Paul mentioned the frustrations of working with 5:01 developers. That was the first time I had heard the term 5:01 developer. A 5:01 developer is one who bolts out the door at 1 minute past 5pm. They are “outta here”. Recently while browsing some blog posts I follow, the term came up again. 5:01 developer. That got me thinking.
Is being a 5:01 developer bad? Not all 5:01 developers are “typical” 5:01 developers. I think I am a 5:01 developer. I need to be out by 5:15pm to get back to my daughter and be able to spend any meaningful “quality time” with her. Can I stay back and do more. Yes. There is never an end to stuff that can be done at work. But I got to stop at some point and “get on with life”. Life as a software developer, be it .Net or Java or Ruby, is becoming more and more hectic. 24 hours are just not enough. Am I doing something wrong? Am I not running fast? I love technology and developing software systems. But of late, I am getting tired of coding yet another list box. How long can one do it? What is the right career path? How can you continue to do what you love and yet not be overwhelmed by the relentless march of technology?
How does Scott Hanselman do it? He says he sleeps less. I cannot function properly without at least 6 hours of good sleep. Scott can do so many things, it just makes you wonder if he is human at all. He posts to his blog regularly, has time to record Hanselminutes, research and work with tools, keep his day job, find time to respond to every comment on his blog and yet still spend quality time with his family. I constantly evaluate my daily processes and try to shave a few minutes where possible. I wake up at 5am. 20 minutes of exercise, shave, shower, breakfast and by the time I get ready to leave it’s 7am. With the way Atlanta traffic is, you got to time your departure precisely. 5 minutes later, and it’s going to cascade and you end up arriving at work 15 minuter later than if you had left 5 minuites earlier. If I dont time it precisely, I get stuck behind a school bus.
Take this rising star in Bangalore. He says he codes till 4am. I can’t do that. Not at this point in my life. When I started out more than 10 years ago, at Infosys, we used to work overnight to complete tasks. I just can’t do it anymore. So how do you compete with such opinionated, smart, young software developers. Become a Software Architect? This developer says he does not want to be an architect. I would love to continue to code. But then for how long? What am I going to do when younger folks who can code till 4am come in?
Maybe it’s time to become a PHB.