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Well, after doing a half dozen of psychological tests, they ALL, without exception, state that I'm definitely an INFP. And I myself do feel as INFP. Now, I am also a software consultant (which, basically, nothing more than a high-level programmer). Do you feel it's a wrong choice of activity for an INFP ? is there anyone else here who is in the same boat and how do you feel about it ? Are you thinking about changing it ?
 

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Don't let personality tendencies tell you which careers work out for you. I took software programming class before and I nearly failed, but that doesn't mean you would too. I believe as long as your heart is into it, so will you. To me, I believe software programming suits you! Intuition and Perceiving functions make a great combo for creativity. The only downside is details, but if you can identify your personality's weakness, you can use that knowledge to develop an attention to details.

My opinion is that your career path is CORRECT!

I'm an INFP and I'm very appealed to entrepreneurship - creating businesses, managing teams, sales, advertising, presentations, etc. I thank my ISTJ/ENTJ parents' way of bringing me up.
 

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I don't think it's a terrible career. It's probably like 50th percentile for an INFP, better than some, worse than some, in theory. I did something similar for a decade +, decided it wasn't meeting my needs, and am now working in IT in a more people-focused role while studying to get a master's in something also more people-focused.

I would use that "N" to plan ahead so if you do need a change, you have options. In keeping with @gaudy316's advice, i'd suggest thinking about ways to use your hidden people skills. Overcome your introversion to build relationships throughout your org. Talk to project managers about what they like about PM. Talk to HR about what they like about HR. As a consultant, you're already in something of a people-oriented role, possibly, so talk to clients.

If you continue to love development, great! Do more of it! If you decide you don't want to, you'll have a great network and plenty of opportunity for a smooth transition.
 

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Take an SII (strong interest inventory) if you can. You said that you are a software consultant, if that is the case congratulations, because that is a rough road to get there. It all depends on how satisfied you are with your career, if you love it than stick with it. Try out some common INFP interests as a hobby. I could see programming as being very good for a fellow infp, it must be so rewarding to help people figure out complex problems. I stopped being a waitress when I just couldn't take it anymore.
 

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My primary source of income for the last 10 years (pretty much my entire adult life), has been from programming and related activities. Mostly web-apps, but lately I've been getting into mobile development as well. I say primary source of income because I don't exactly work full-time hours, never have and working 9-5 writing code in a cubicle sounds like a horrific way to go through life. But I enjoy writing code, and I am pretty good at it. I'm in my late 20s now, but after working as a contract web developer for about 5 years, I went back to school to get a broad liberal arts education, which I'm working on right now.

I still like programming. It is applied science, which makes it an art, and they say were are a pretty artistic personality type. Some channel their efforts into the fine arts, but programming is still a creative endeavour. When I was a teenager and early 20s, I got excited by technology, but I find that the latest and greatest doesn't really excite me anymore. Technology for its own sake doesn't excite me. For example, the stuff that was demonstrated at Google IO this week. Its neat I guess, but nowadays I'm more interested in how it can be used to do something meaningful. This past week I spent hours and hours reading about "topic maps", just for fun and possible future use. That sort of thing (like a giant mind map stored in a database) appeals more to my INFPness than the latest thing the Google engineers dreamed up. Not saying what they're doing isn't cool, but... I just don't care anymore about latest point release of some software program, or the newest device and its specs, things like that. I don't think I have any geek credibility in that sense anymore.

On the other hand, when something captures my interest, I can work on it day-in and day-out for weeks at a time, I can get so into something that I have trouble billing the clients sometimes, I just get in there lost in the code doing whatever needs to be done to get the site up and running. But when its done, I need to recharge. And if I'm not into it for whatever reason, I can loath every minute of it, with terrible procrastination habits. I only bill per productive effort hour, I use a timer to keep track. But I find that when my mind is elsewhere, off in lala land, it can take me two hours to get 1 real hour of productive programming done.

I've learned a lot about myself since I discovered personality types and the various sites about them, including this one. One thing I've seen mentioned a few times is a tendency for us to procrastinate and procrastinate, and then at the last moment, we can spit out something brilliant. Like with term papers at school, for example. I think the same thing happens to me with the programming. I find it problematic because programming requires intense concentration, and if its not there, you have a problem. Its not like other jobs where you can do it without thinking much, or half asleep. I need to be well-rested and very focused to get anything creative done. But I think the INFP mind is known to wander quite a bit, so that can be a real problem.

So... In summary, working for a small company, with just a few other people, usually or often from a home office and collaborating over Skype and other modern telecommunications technologies, occasionally meeting in person, and working on projects that have some useful benefit to humanity == my dream job. A code monkey in a cubicle in a large corporation, writing boring, meaningless code, with productivity being measured in terms of lines of code per day or something, I think I'd prefer to shoot myself.

You may have seen the thread already, but if not, someone posted a link to their personal blog about INFP programming here on Personality Cafe, back in the fall. I found it quite interesting. He calls it organic programming, but what he is describing is actually a style of programming that the INFP will excel in.

Organic Programming (OP)

As INFP programmers, I think we have certain strengths. And weaknesses, of course. Our strength, based on what he says, is being able to see the big picture. Extroverted Intuition in action. We can see the whole program, and understand how all the various components work together. We can easily grasp object oriented programming, and use it to its full advantage. Our introspective, intuitive minds can see the objects working together in the code. So we can potentially grasp complex code bases that other types aren't able to as easily. On the other hand, I think we suck at algorithms. Inventing a faster sorting method, its probably not the kind of programming we'd be best at. I think I'll stick to applied science, the programming as an art, and leave the computer science part of it for the true computer geeks.
 

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Currently, my biggest part of my income comes from my dayjob as a C# programmer. Though I'm trying to change that now.

It really comes down to Creative Self-Expression. Everything we do expresses who we are and our purpose. And for a time, programming let me express who I was. It made me grow and learn and with my skills I helped friends and family with their websites for their business. But as I go along, I'm realizing it's a very limited way for me to express myself.

There are better ways for me to keep growing and learning and add value to peoples lives. And just because you start in something doesn't mean you have to stay with it forever. Sometimes, you do grow out of your current career and what you're currently doing no longer expresses who you are. Then it's time to transition to the next thing.
 

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I program too, and no it's not at all a wrong choice for an INFP. Be sure to find the right kinda crowd though, and stay away from Microsoft platforms. :p

IMO, languages likes C++, Java, and C# are *bad* for N programmers (they maybe very good for STJs, though). Stick to the more dynamic languages, python, ruby, etc.

There are many "programming" jobs that are bad for an NF (and any N, really). Traditional companies in particular tend to be run with an SJ mentality which drives us crazy. I had a job for nearly a year but I quit because I just couldn't handle it.
 

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Computer programming is not a proper occupation for an upwardly mobile "white" aborigine ("white"?-- whatever, you can substitute that, I'm using this just to indicate a person with a social status and abilities developed enough not to put up with such a limiting occupation) and is not recommended for a real born/bread "1st word" country dweller (again, here's my perspective from Canada). Leave this to industrious immigrants.

It's better to be a programmer in the 3rd world or developing country-- your social status, respect and self-esteem will be a lot better and you'll be getting all the best chicks. You'll be better off as a programmer in India, Russia, Thailand or whatever.

If you want a lot of garbage knowledge which has little to do with real life-- welcome to programming.

This is the current trend in "programming", moving to solutions involving less and less actual programming than before and more administration and content management with platforms like SharePoint invented for you by other men. You'll read more books (1000-10000's of pages, no kidding) than a good lawyer only to your knowledge become garbage at some point (very soon) when a new "cool" feature comes out.

Recommended read: halfsigma.com/2007/03/why_a_career_in.html

^ quite a good essay, really, pure realism, take your time please.

I still love programming and currently make a buck and can't complain, for me the biggest issue with it--

IT IS SO FCUKING ABSTRACT and has so LITTLE to do with REAL FLESH AND BONE LIFE and REAL PEOPLE RELATIONSHIPS, that you're not earning real life skills and not build or master real RELATIONSHIPS, the most IMPORTANT things that MATTER IN LIFE.

The PROBLEM WITH PROGRAMMING-- IT'S NOT REALLY SOCIALLY IMPORTANT!

You just work down with your hardware/software and up with your project manager, your work is so fcuking abstract and you're so replaceable! You don't help real people with real life issues, you don't form relationships because of the nature of your work with people outside work! It's a big downer!

Life is about RELATIONSHIPS, that's what matter the most! What's socially important is SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS and the work that will allow you to build SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS and STATUS naturally through your time and expertise.

People know that fact consciously/subconsciously, no surprise it's a low status occupation in the developed world. The reason it's still quite popular in the developing countries-- it pays noticeably more than average so a programmer can put bread on a table and they still live in a non-post-industrial undeveloped world where technicalities and technical occupations still matter.

Try to compare an even a good programmer's social value in a society with with one of a doctor, lawyer, mentor, architect, cleric or politician. It's almost ZERO. You don't have a SOCIAL IMPACT in REAL LIFE as a programmer, and this is THE BOTTOM LINE.

So, take your time and, please, consider something else if you don't want to come to the same conclusions 10 years later!

Thanks!
 

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I'm going to write an essay on the current state of computer programming and publish it on this forum since I'm a programmer with a diverse experience having worked in multiple countries and I currently can't find a good one on the internet.

The recent good essay was at [www].halfsigma.com/2007/03/why_a_career_in.html, but it's outdated by now and requires elaboration.
 

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Life is about RELATIONSHIPS, that's what matter the most! What's socially important is SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS and the work that will allow you to build SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS and STATUS naturally through your time and expertise.

....Try to compare an even a good programmer's social value in a society with with one of a doctor, lawyer, mentor, architect, cleric or politician. It's almost ZERO. You don't have a SOCIAL IMPACT in REAL LIFE as a programmer, and this is THE BOTTOM LINE.
I think your screed is a little over the top. In strong-N fashion, you've generalized from several data points of personal experience which are valid to draw a conclusion that certain situations ALWAYS apply.

I don't believe they always apply, but i generally endorse the main points, especially the ones i've highlighted. Programming is a reasonable means to an end, not an end to itself.

(Lawyer? You think most lawyers have a net benefit to society? A few, sure.)
 

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@flaring, I think you experienced the wrong side of programming -- the standards and industry-related side. Yes, this side is boring and pointless.

However, programming is not pointless at all. It has *alot* to do with society. Does Facebook change the world? Does youtube change the world? Does Google change the world? Hell yea they do!

Does a boring office job change the world? hmm probably not. So don't blame programming; blame your company.

If you're a programer, you have the potential to make an impact on the world from you eFFing seat, this is like the INFP's dream.
 

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@flaring, I think you experienced the wrong side of programming -- the standards and industry-related side. Yes, this side is boring and pointless.

However, programming is not pointless at all. It has *alot* to do with society. Does Facebook change the world? Does youtube change the world? Does Google change the world? Hell yea they do!
I think we can agree that Facebook and Google (who owns YouTube) are top of the line in status, and probably in Google's case in technical merit.

With determination in improving your technical skills, and a little bit of networking skill, you can probably eventually get a job there. It takes is several years of knowing that's your career goal.

I'm not sure how generalizable this is, but here's my experience: When i became open to the idea that i was in the wrong career, around 6 years after graduation, my motivation went all over the place and i got canned from a job. I refocused, did stellar work at my next role, 9-11 happened, i survived a round of layoffs 6 months after getting there, and then got laid off as the startup company died. Wandered around for a couple of years, some bad experiences in other fields, came back to a pretty bad tech job, got fed up in a year. Wandered around, some bad experiences, back to tech, mom-and-pop business, not the greatest but hey, by now i'd learned to focus. Then that company died.

tl;dr, but the upshot is, i liked programming but had no commitment to it as a vocation. Thus i entered a death spiral where i was in worse and worse QA/development jobs.
 

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Well, Facebook was built by a guy in his spare time, more or less. Google started as a PhD project.
Not sure i get your point, though. With a lot of inspiration (and way more luck than people are willing to admit), you too can start a $multibillion company?

That's very different than talking about day-to-day work as a developer, but i'll play along. What do you do when you have 100 ideas a day, you're pretty sure that only one per day is marketable, but one of those 365 in a year would be the next FB or Google? Only, you don't know which one? And you don't have anyone around to help you make that determination? And if you pick one and run with it, six months later you'll be full of self-doubt?

Not whining about this, honestly trying to understand a way through it so that my creativity can make something happen for the good.
 

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Not saying to go build a $MM company. But try to do independent work. If you take programming as "just a job", then it's the worst thing in the world. Programming is a creative field, you have to be smart and creative and dedicated. If you take it as a 9-5 job then you will suck at it and it will suck for you.
 

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@flaring
However, programming is not pointless at all. It has *alot* to do with society. Does Facebook change the world? Does youtube change the world? Does Google change the world? Hell yea they do!

Does a boring office job change the world? hmm probably not. So don't blame programming; blame your company.

If you're a programer, you have the potential to make an impact on the world from you eFFing seat, this is like the INFP's dream.
Not quite right. I've been working with very good organizations and advanced to such level that currently I can chose whom I will work with and will not work with people or organizations showing signs of stupidity or immaturity. Thanks god they do exist and certainly attract the best people with the best values.

Google/Facebook of course change the world, but so what's exactly there for you? Couple of notes here:

1) With the current state of technologies there's virtually nothing unimplementable left-- you just need bring appropriate people to provide with expertise and a bunch of coders. It's the execs, BA's, marketing people and other people from business who will enjoy the drive mostly and whos vision you'll be implementing.

Remember "The Social Network"? Sean Parker (drop the "the"), an entrepreneur, played a crucial role in getting facebook going, while Mark's friend Eduardo ("remember the algorithm on the window?") was left behind. Nobody needs algorithms per se. That's how things work in real life-- welcome to the NFL!

2) There are very few "inventors" like Gates, Zuckerberg or google team who "make it" and they effectively cease being programmers in common sense very quickly and become businessmen once they reach success.

3) One may also imply that Google/Facebook/MS might be good places to work, but those in industry with experience know that it's not necessary the case. People leave these companies to start their own thing, join startup or earn more somewhere else. Google pays little and it's a very well known fact. Just because they think they can get away with being oh-so-sexy Google-- attracting smart, but naive graduates many of whom will leave in a number of years for aforementioned things when they'll really start getting smarter.

Ok well, imagine you're already in place like Google or Facebook. You can add a cool line into your resume now, but so what's next, really? You still will likely be doing menial things, payed average money and bound to office. What happens next is you'll find opportunity elsewhere that will pay times of Google or will offer more freedoms and leave. But you can just skip this step right away, start working in finance domain for instance, find a boutique high frequency trading company or something like that and make times of money baits like Google pay.

It's just one example, but there are many. I prefer a company where going on a tour through French wineries on cars with not less than 8 cylinders as an entry requirement or yacht sailing in Spain is a normal socializing event for a weekend more than drinking a punch, talking about "Bing!" (don't mention Google! or vice versa if you wish) or some kindergarten google-style water gun play corporate conformity jumping through the hoops geek convention.
 

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I would just strongly suggest anyone thinking of going into software development to read the essay I previously mentioned in this thread, and also its supplements-- "the death of the generalist software developer", "response to frequent comments", "who wants to be a billionaire", "responses to dumb comments"-- and try to challenge it yourself. It's pretty good essay on topic, straight to the point, cynical and covers the issue quite well, also debunks the most obvious responses like "but Google/Zukeberg is great!" or "you just don't like programming!" and so on. If you can easily challenge its points, if it nevertheless leaves you lighthearted about your decision seriously going into development and you feel it's your thing-- then yes, go for it.

For me it all ultimately boils down to programming's biggest problem as an occupation it being of a very low social value. Consciously or subconsciously people seem to understand this and steer away from it. It's just too abstract, disconnected and far from life concerns that really matter.

What really matters are societal issues like your and your loved ones health, security, money, power, home, education, food, fitness, fun. Rightfully, the people associated with these things will always be getting the bacon, but it's a lot more than just your base salary, you get a higher social value and status with all the blows and whistles it comes with. And these people are doctors, bankers, businessmen, politicians, architects, professors, entertainers etc. Even a bus driver or an air traffic controller are instinctively respected 'cause people's lives are dependent on them.

What's common about them they're all in connection with others on the basic survival issues. They are important. Programmers are not. You get the idea, software programmers are somewhere at the bottom of totem pole, because of the very basic, ancient and "primative" notion of low societal value of what they do in life. Nobody really gives a sh1t about website down for couple hours, it's just some fancy stuff. Especially considering typical me-to-the-e-commerce-website jobs most of programmers will end up in, creating user controls with ever-changing technologies which are basically the same things just in a different form over and over again (really, garbage knowledge you will be spending your lifetime on). As a consequence of low social impact and value you're easily replaceable and outsourced. Programmers are essentially proles of mental labor.

You say you work for Facebook and changing the world, but I'd say its too anonymous and there are too many proxies for you to feel the real impact, connection and benefit from it. Even with all the notion of modern labor alienation, programming seems to be one of the most alienating and isolating occupations. This work doesn't teach you more important things like how to deal with people (compared to many other jobs). You don't build up relationships due to the nature of your work. You don't inspire people like artists and don't even work with real people much. You interface down is a machine, your interface up is your project manager.

I came to the point that spending 50% of awake time working as a developer is limiting and draining for me, but I'm looking for practical ways to change it for the better.

One quote from debunking dumb comments:

"Despite its transparency, as Bjarne Stroustrup has observed, "our civilization runs on software." It is therefore a tremendous privilege as well as a deep responsibility to be a software developer.

When the garbagemen went on strike, New Yorkers discovered that the city doesn't run without garbagemen. But no one considers it a "tremendous privilege" to be a garbageman."
 

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@flaring, your comments strike me as very STJ-ish.

Programming is like Art. You don't get into it for the social status or the prestige. You get into it for the love of it. If you don't like doing it, then it's not for you. Clearly you don't like it that much, so it's just not for you. But that's just you; you can't generalize it to other INFPs.

Programmers are *not* replaceable. They might be in a company that's *structured* to make programmers replaceable, and these are exactly the kind of companies that suck and can't innovate.

A commonly understood notion in programming circles is that programmer productivity varies greatly among people. One guy could be 10x better than another one, or even 100x better.

I recommend reading Paul Graham's essays

Hackers and Painters

Programming Bottom-Up

The Python Paradox

Revenge of the Nerds
 

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I don't believe it's a bad career choice at all. Actually, it really intrigues me and I was considering going into computer science for a while. The only reason I didn't is because I didn't want to have to take that much math... Especially calculus.

INFPs don't come in one form, and there's nothing we "should" or "shouldn't" be :)
 
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