four and a half years
A standard boring interview question would be... "what do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?", or "what do you want to achieve?". To that, my answer had been (and still is) "doing an open-source project.. doing something to contribute back to the society". It may sound almost cliche, like a Miss Universe answer (especially the society bit).. but that is the truth.
Nothing pleases me more than seeing that I've made someone's life easier with technology (software to be precise)... No I'm not talking about a client-vendor relationship.. projects irks me a lot.. usually accompanied by stupid users too... but rather i'm talking about a helping hand, developer-to-developer. Commradie. Its like letting your friend copy your home work - you know he CAN do it.. its just boring work.. and surely he'll do the same for you - the net effect is that everybody progresses, nobody has lousy grade and none of you do repeated boring work - the time saved can be used to do the real interesting stuffs!
I've been in this line for four and a half years already. Some projects are interesting but most are not. I guess keeping the fire of passion for programming remains largely how much one can motivate himself to learn other things, apart from work. Its of totally opposite agenda, businesses and me. It is to the businesses (short term?) interest to want engineers to use the known and produce quality milk like a cow, whenever squeezed. But it is to the interest of all serious engineers to chart the unknown, master the unfamiliar and try out the new. Only in the unknown, the new, holds potential. Unleashing potential must be the most satisfactory thing an engineer can do.
Oh i'm blabbering again.. so sleepy! Still at client's place....
"They say in the Army.. the food is very nice;
you ask for chicken drumstick.. they give you chicken backside;
I don't want an Army life.. Sergeant I wanna go; OC I wanna go;
Mummy I wanna go homeeeee"
- army song