The habit of questioning everything is essential, and this question is easy to answer for me. I’m not.
But, yes I work from 9 to 5 (or 7 to 4) most of the days, and the reason is simple, I try to work with 100% concentration during my work hours, and I enjoy and take care of the family as well. Apart from that, I take a lot my free time to learn new technologies and be on top of the software development news. As Sandro Mancuso says in his book “The software craftsman,” software development is not only my job, and my profession is my main hobby too. But it also means that I invest a lot of time in learning things that do not apply directly to my current job, and that is not ideal sometimes.
Some months ago, while discussing with a colleague, he told me that he doesn’t learn anything until he needs it. He argued that, if he gains a skill now and does not apply it for real in the next two years, he forgets most of it and it will be very very frustrating when he will need it in the future. Not only he does not remember it, but also, there is new, enhance version that makes the refresh of the knowledge more confusing and complicated. I have experienced this myself several times, and I’m right now experiencing it with Ruby.
I love Ruby, it is by far my preferred programming language and community, but I do not use it professionally. Instead, it is my hobby language. Lately, I was using it less and less, and with the appearance of Swift, it went to zero. Last month I decided that I want to recover it. Not because I need it but because I feel it is beautiful and fresh. Also, I will be giving some programming lessons to my kids and, in my opinion, is an excellent language for that. Of course, I feel inefficient with the language and the tools, but I’m taking it easy. It will take time to gain knowledge back and feel a bit productive. Anyway, I’m enjoying the journey as always. Once I feel ok with the language, I will participate in some of the great open sources projects to fix some bugs and get the feeling of how are others are doing with it. I also have a couple of ideas for a project that I can create and maintain to keep practicing (and enjoying).
With that said, I do not agree with my colleague. Yes, you forget all the details but the essence remains, and when you needed it back, it comes quicker than learning from scratch. Also, I enjoy the fact of learning and experiencing new things, and that is probably the most critical part for me, the joy of experimenting and failing constantly.
So, I do not feel like a 9 to 5 developer, but a developer that likes to work and learn on a daily basis. Even if sometimes is challenging to find the time to do something for real, at least I have 1 hour for reading/practicing every night. Enjoying the family takes the rest.
Are you a 9 to 5 kind of dev?