Hey kind folks,
Long-time lurker here -- mostly because I found HMH just this year, and I can't follow the live streams, and I never seem to catch the other streams. But anyway, this seems like an amazing community, and I've been struggling enough with my career that I realized it was stupid not to ask if someone here has good advice.
So, around a year ago, I was already a big fan of Jon Blow from a game design perspective, and had watched all his talks I could find related to that, but then I found "Making Game Programming Less Terrible" from Reboot Develop 2017. Even though it was mostly about games and I've been in web dev for ~15 years, it got me thinking thoughts about my industry that I couldn't un-think.
To be honest, I probably would have ended up in game dev, but I had a false idea from a poorly taught high-school CS class that C++ & co. were too hard for me, probably because I struggled in math. But when I first taught myself web technologies in the late 90s, I experienced the joy of programming (believe it or not! :P), and that's what kept me hungry to learn more, and later turn it into a career.
However, the web was changing fast, from its original incarnation as just a bunch of documents; to a semi-interactive, awkwardly animated magazine (when I got on board); to its current incarnation as essentially just a vehicle for install-less programs that run in a sandbox -- except it had completely reinvented the wheel on how to write a program (and not very well).
For years, I had found the joy of programming more and more elusive in my field, and Jon's talk gave me the concepts to start understanding why. Extremely heavy abstraction layers have crept into everything under the guise of best practices.
At this point, I'm trying not to go off on a rant about where web dev has gone. If you're reading this, I'm sure you get it. Anyway, through related searching, I found HMH, started following along, and was shocked how approachable this type of programming actually was. Learning it got me more excited than anything computer-related had done in years.
My trouble is I'm still at a loss for professional direction. Despite how it's more approachable than I realized, it'll be a while before I'm good enough at systems programming to be paid for it.
I'm applying for this one role at a company that makes mapping software -- it's a web dev role but they also have many C++ programmers for GIS stuff I think. Maybe it would present opportunities to learn what I want to learn and move in a better direction. These kinds of things are hard to find though. I've also thought about going back to school for CS (which I never did), but the expense would be tough, and I keep hearing that most CS schools teach as many bad ideas as good ideas.
Anyway, I was hoping to hear from someone who was in a similar boat (background in web dev or a similarly abstract computer field) and successfully moved into more satisfying work. Or even if you were unsuccessful -- misery loves company!
I definitely listened with interest to all the Career Stories, and am really grateful to Casey and everyone who contributed. They were great to hear in general, but I didn't find something I could apply to myself specifically.
If you read this far, thanks for your time, and even if you have nothing else to say, a "hi" would be appreciated. :)
P.S. I thought I remember Abner saying the Handmade Network site and forums run on a custom backend? I can't help being curious about the technology. Does it have anything to do with Casey's C-based web system that I've heard of?
P.P.S. Happy holidays/new year!