Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Never Ask That Question"

"Could you help me to understand you?"
"Can you help me to understand you?"

(Image from here.)

As a by-product of my recent job search, I've begun to ask myself a question which I haven't yet found a good answer for. It lurks in the back of my mind, growing seemingly more ominous each time I think on it.

"What do I want to being doing in my career?"

It doesn't help that Haylee and I have been watching Babylon 5 recently. My mental Kosh doesn't like the question. Perhaps the Morden-esque nature of the question lends to part of the ominous feeling. But putting that aside, I'm just not sure what I want.

When I was looking at jobs out there, I found that there are many which I'm not very well qualified for due to lack of work experience. I've only been out in the work force for 2 years, so that's not too bad, but I worry that my skills are too focused in the web development sphere. I feel like I've got an excellent education and aptitude, so part of me wants to be branching out more. Proving, perhaps, that I'm a well-rounded programmer capable of much more. So in my search I looked for places where I could get a Java or C/C++ based job.

But that didn't pan out. My most promising leads were in web development. Not that I mind terribly; I enjoy it well enough. But I feel like I don't want to be typecast (what a great programming pun, by the way. heh).

Looking for a job is one activity which I really dislike. In fact, I don't know anyone who feels otherwise. It's the sort of thing that you do out of necessity, and yet try to procrastinate it as much as possible. But I did try to grab hold of one ray of hope I found: getting a job in the gaming industry.

I think that being a game programmer is something I'd really enjoy. I'm pretty sure of it actually. I've certainly spent a lot of my free time over the years doing it for myself. But there is a nagging bit of doubt in my mind about some details, such as: not being in control of the project, having to work on stupid games, etc. On the other hand, it would be a good chance to get out of web development city... or at least live in the suburbs.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a chance to get into the industry. Again the lack of work experience in relevant areas hinders me. But it could still be a possibility in the future.

All of this has led me to think about what I would do if I could choose. What programming projects have most interested me? Mostly games that I've worked on. (Ironically, my Imperium game was built in a web development sphere.) So I've been wondering if there is something there that I could do. Is there a way that I could take one of my projects and make money with it?

I'm scared to take a leap. What I do for now has to be a side-project -- I won't quit my job to try something like this... not now, not without some promise of success. But then I find myself in a dilemma: when would I actually work on it? I really don't want to spend what little free-time I have these days doing more coding. It's almost as if I need it to be my job.

I shall have to think more on this...

"I will teach you."
"About yourself?"
"About you. Until you are ready."
"For what?"
"To fight legends."