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Search - "disillusioned_youngster_seeking_elder_advise"
I'm a self-taught 19-year-old programmer. Coding since 10, dropped out of high-school and got fist job at 15.
In the the early days I was extremely passionate, learning SICP, Algorithms, doing Haskell, C/C++, Rust, Assembly, writing toy compilers/interpreters, tweaking Gentoo/Arch. Even got a lambda tattoo on my arm after learning lambda-calculus and church numerals.
My first job - a company which raised $100,000 on kickstarter. The CEO was a dumb millionaire hippie, who was bored with his money, so he wanted to run a company even though he had no idea what he was doing. He used to talk about how he build our product, even tho he had 0 technical knowledge whatsoever. He was on news a few times which was pretty cringeworthy. The company had only 1 programmer (other than me) who was pretty decent.
We shipped the project, but soon we burned through kickstart money and the sales dried off. Instead of trying to aquire customers (or abandoning the project), boss kept looking for investors, which kept us afloat for an extra year.
Eventually the money dried up, and instead of closing gates, boss decreased our paychecks without our knowledge. He also converted us from full-time employees to "contractors" (also without our knowledge) so he wouldn't have to pay taxes for us. My paycheck decreased by 40% by I still stayed.
One day, I was trying to burn a USB drive, and I did "dd of=/dev/sda" instead of sdb, therefore wiping out our development server. They asked me to stay at company, but I turned in my resignation letter the next day (my highest ever post on reddit was in /r/TIFU).
Next, I found a job at a "finance" company. $50k/year as a 18-year-old. CEO was a good-looking smooth-talker who made few million bucks talking old people into giving him their retirement money.
He claimed he changed his ways, and was now trying to help average folks save money. So far I've been here 8 month and I do not see that happening. He forces me to do sketchy shit, that clearly doesn't have clients best interests in mind.
I am the only developer, and I quickly became a back-end and front-end ninja.
I switched the company infrastructure from shitty drag+drop website builder, WordPress and shitty Excel macros into a beautiful custom-written python back-end.
Little did I know, this company doesn't need a real programmer. I don't have clear requirements, I get unrealistic deadlines, and boss is too busy to even communicate what he wants from me.
Eventually I sold my soul. I switched parts of it to WordPress, because I was not given enough time to write custom code properly.
For latest project, I switched from using custom React/Material/Sass to using drag+drop TypeForms for surveys.
I used to be an extremist FLOSS Richard Stallman fanboy, but eventually I traded my morals, dreams and ideals for a paycheck. Hey, $50k is not bad, so maybe I shouldn't be complaining? :(
I got addicted to pot for 2 years. Recently I've gotten arrested, and it is honestly one of the best things that ever happened to me. Before I got arrested, I did some freelancing for a mugshot website. In un-related news, my mugshot dissapeared.
I have been sober for 2 month now, and my brain is finally coming back.
I know average developer hits a wall at around $80k, and then you have to either move into management or have your own business.
After getting sober, I realized that money isn't going to make me happy, and I don't want to manage people. I'm an old-school neck-beard hacker. My true passion is mathematics and physics. I don't want to glue bullshit libraries together.
I want to write real code, trace kernel bugs, optimize compilers. Albeit, I was boring in the wrong generation.
I've started studying real analysis, brushing up differential equations, and now trying to tackle machine learning and Neural Networks, and understanding the juicy math behind gradient descent.
I don't know what my plan is for the future, but I'll figure it out as long as I have my brain. Maybe I will continue making shitty forms and collect paycheck, while studying mathematics. Maybe I will figure out something else.
But I can't just let my brain rot while chasing money and impressing dumb bosses. If I wait until I get rich to do things I love, my brain will be too far gone at that point. I can't just sell myself out. I'm coming back to my roots.
I still feel like after experiencing industry and pot, I'm a shittier developer than I was at age 15. But my passion is slowly coming back.
Any suggestions from wise ol' neckbeards on how to proceed?32