The 501 developer
The 501 developer is a person who goes home at 5.01 pm everyday and does not care squat about software development outside work time. I think that is quite a healthy habit and I wish that I could do the same.
But I can't.
I read my blogs traveling to and from my job. If I'm not done reading when I come home, I continue by my desk. This is absolutely necessary to stay on track with the line of field.
I maintain my own blog, not only to take from the community but to also give back some of the insights I got. It is also a way to get direct feedback on my own thoughts around technology.
I have my own pet project, where I try out new technologies and ideas. You can't learn anything without getting your hands dirty with code.
I read programming books on my spare time, to refresh my knowledge of languages, coding standards and design patterns.
These things are nothing I'm paid to do. These are something that I voluntarily accept that I have to do, in able to stay updated. Sometimes it is fun and refreshing, and other times I just feel sick of it.
Since these things are necessary to keep any software developer fresh it should be included in the 8 hours of work every day. That would of course mean for our employers that 2 work hours would disappear every day. As a consultant, that would mean 10 hours more of non billable time every week, 50 hours / month.
That is a lot of money. And why give all developers free educational hours every day, when the amount of time spent on programming outside working hours, is the very competing edge between developers? How could we distinguish bad programmer from good programmer when they're given equally chance to evolve.
Jack's got two kids, a wife, a house and a dog. How does he stand a chance to me that have no dog, kids or life? All of my wake hours are somehow connected to my work. How is he supposed to compete with that?
I admire those who go home 5.01pm. I don't think they should be required to do anything outside of work except the things they choose. I would like to see personal evolvement as a part of my daily work and not as a part of my daily spare time.
I would like to stop living on the edge.