The not so clear path of becoming a software engineer

Recently during an interview, I was asked how and why I started to work with programming. A valid question in every sense of the word, however it instantly made me feel inadequate.

Firstly, because it seemed like the interviewer was looking to find a self-taught programmer. A person born with a keyboard in her/his hands writing the first lines of code while playing hide and seek at kindergarten. Unfortunately, this is not me. I had a very normal childhood in every way, and like most children I had no clue what I wanted to do when I grew up. Not even in high school. The choice to study computer science and engineering was taken on a whim, with no underlying wish to change the world.

Secondly, because I felt I should have had a better, more magic and passionate answer. In software there is this notion that our job is much more than a job. Preferably you should have your job as a hobby; live and breathe code 24/7. But the way I see it is that no one expects their doctor or their plumber to go home and have “surgery” or “plumbing” as a hobby.

The truth is: To me software engineering is merely a job. Yes, fun and exciting most of the time, but still a daytime job. That’s what I said to the interviewer. It was totally truthful, and I have no reason to believe my answers influenced the interview poorly – since I ended up being offered the position.

If there is a take-away lesson from all of this; it is that there is no reason to pretend we are more than mere mortals. It’s better to just be ourselves. I’m glad my employer is Mpya Sci & Tech, and that I work in a workplace that values work life balance to a very high degree. A workplace where “breathing code 24/7” is not considered to be the healthiest approach to work.

I will end this text with by quoting one of our core values: Be who you are!

/Patrik Danielsson, SW Engineer at MPYA Sci & Tech. Being who I am.

#Mpya Inspo

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