Software development is the ultimate post-industrial craft. Armed with nothing but a laptop, a pot of coffee and a place to hack, a developer can turn an idea in a notebook into a successful business enterprise or a beautiful work of art.
This gives us a lot of freedom - freedom to roam the world, freedom to express ourselves, freedom to live. But not many hackers take advantage of that freedom - instead, they work long, boring jobs for big companies. Every day, they go into big buildings to sit in little boxes to work on somebody else's dream and for somebody else's profit. That's a travesty.
We don't have to live like that! We've got the skills and the ideas to survive off of ourselves and each other. We should be code nomads - exploring the globe and creating our dreams, living liberated, fulfilling lives! We'll eat when we're hungry and sleep when we're tired, we'll explore when we're bored and we'll code when we're wired! All at once and all together, we'll be hustlers, poets, businessmen and cowboys!
Why are so many hackers so afraid to take the plunge and live life at that intersection of their own skills and the computer network? Is it the money? In How to Make Wealth, Paul Graham describes how a good hacker can produce lots of wealth with just a good idea and a lot of hard work - as much money, if not more, than by working at a corporate job. And it's never been easier! The web, virtual servers, app stores and open source software have made it so that the initial cost to get started in self-employment is so low, there's no reason not to give it a try.
But we can't do it alone! No software package stands alone - we all use libraries, templates, snippets and styles that we take from each other. And it's great! Free and open source software and social coding on GitHub have shown us that we all benefit from coding out in the open. If you need a piece of code, then it's more than likely that there are a hundred other hackers out there who want the same thing for their own projects. Code is wealth - share it and we all get richer.
So invest in yourself! Take a risk and make that program you've always wanted to write! Finish that project you started, then abandoned - or hire a fellow hacker to finish it for you! Better still, hire another hacker to finish it for you, then take a journey to a place you've always wanted to go. Then when you get back, take on gigs from other hackers until you've got enough money to do it again. You'll never be bored, and you'll never look back at your life and have regrets about not taking that chance.
Become a code nomad today! You have nothing to lose.. and your own life to gain!