Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?
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Thread: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

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    Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    This is a newer article on Developer.com (sister site to CodeGuru.com). Have an opinion? Chime in here!

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    This is good point of view. I guess that enjoyment has to be a part of beeing an expert or professional. But, like in the others areas there are also exceptions. All can easyly bring a example of experts that are not enjoyed about there professionalism - or you name it. For me most important thing about beeing an expert or profesional (or hobbist) is to ensure constan improvement. Kaizen - in japanese terms. From the other hane, someone who is truely interested in the matter - has to improve itself it the matter. And this often can be acceived only by taking fun and enjoyment from the thing.

    Sorry for crap english.

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    Well...this is an interesting topic...so let's dig into it...

    I would say that none of the given reasons divides a professional from a hobbyist. As an example...when I am at work, I am developing professional applications. While being here at CodeGuru answering questions, I do it with the same professionality as I develop applications at work, although I am doing CodeGuru as one of my hobbies.

    So...that basically leads to the question....am I a professional at work (since I built my career on it) and am a hobbyist here at CodeGuru? I would not say so since my answers provided here are based on the same professionality as my work is. That would make me both a professional at work and here at CodeGuru.

    Based on the fact that CodeGuru however is only one of my hobbies, it would lead to the assumption that I am a professional hobbyist...

    Thus, there cannot be distinguished any difference...so, let's go back to the words itself...

    A hobbyist is
    • a person who pursues and activity in their spare time for pleasure


    A professional is
    • a person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
    • one who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.
    • a skilled practitioner; an expert.


    Does this definition brings something new? Not really...still there isn't anything that would prevent a hobbyist from being an expert in his area as well.

    So...what is the conclusion? In my eyes there is no difference necessarely...as stated, a hobbyist can be a professional as well, however, in general people will simply follow the rule: If someone is doing something in his spare time he is a hobbyist (despite the fact that he might be an expert in his hobby), if someone is doing it as a job he is a professional.

    This is basically an example of words which cannot be complety divided from each other and thus are more relying on what the majority used to put in it...

    If it does not make sense, then this answer was provided by me as a hobbyist, if it does make sense, it was the professional in me...
    Ciao, Andreas

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    So I have two challenges to you're a professional if you're working ...

    1) If you loose your job do you instantly become a hobiest?
    2) If you are "self-employed" are you a professional? I've met many people who are "self-employed" who are not...

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    Well...first of all...I did not want to offend anybody (especially the author). Neither did I meant to say the article was wrong or bad written. If someone gets the impression from my previous post, I apologize for this...

    Okay....let's go further on with it...

    Quote Originally Posted by rlbogue
    1) If you loose your job do you instantly become a hobiest?
    2) If you are "self-employed" are you a professional? I've met many people who are "self-employed" who are not...
    Well...I knew that something like that would come...if I would lose my job, I would be basically none of them...in the regard of the widely used meaning that I tried to point out in my previous post. First, I would like to divide that into people who are like me...having the same subject both for work and hobby and people who simply work. In my case I would be a hobbyist but not a professional (leave alone the problem that I can basically a professional hobbyist for now). In the other case, the person would not be either one (assuming that he does not have any hobbies at all).

    However, there is coming another interesting aspect of how people look at this distinction...many people would still be refer to the person as being a professional, although not having a job right now. But they used to know that he was working as a professional. So, it is simply run by the association of the past.

    The second question is even more interesting...I agree with you...I have also met many "professionals" where the only professional thing was that they know how to write 'professional'. But in this case, I think it is another different road on the subject. In this case, one refers to himself as being a professional or not. Before I was more thinking in regard of other people referring to your person.

    Human nature always let people believe they are professionals as what they do...this is a natural thinking...would you ever say: Well, I program but I am really bad at it?

    Maybe you would...to your wife your closest friend but not in front of one hundred people. Granted, everybody is different, and some people like me would do it simply because they do not care much about what other people think about them. This is then another side effect which comes into play here when looking at how people refer to themselves.

    I unfortunately have to go for the moment, thus, I need to stop here...if the above does not make sense....simply let me know...
    Ciao, Andreas

    "Software is like sex, it's better when it's free." - Linus Torvalds


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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    well, I would like to get involved in the discussion too... no one is agianst that?

    I would say that Hobbyist and Professionals are two far away concepts... and who said, hobbyist's dont make money? there are hobbysists who spend lots of time on their hobbies... so, do they become professional?

    professioanls [unlike me] stick to one profession? nope... Take [Robert] the author... in the endnote of the article, it has information about the author... do we say he is a professional or a hobbyist?

    profession come to me as a hobbyist [frankly]... and now my profession has entirely changed... am i left without the Hobby... Guess not! I am still holding my place in CodeGuru [Thanks Brad! ]

    am i rattling here? hope not...

    so coming back to the definitions and the idea of the article, I would like to quote the following sentence
    One of the interesting things about the hobbyist definition is that it speaks about something that is done for pleasure and enjoyment; however, the definition of a professional has no mention of whether the activities are enjoyable or not.
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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Tacker
    so coming back to the definitions and the idea of the article, I would like to quote the following sentence
    Yes....but being a professional hobbyist makes the the sentence invalid...since in this case the profession is done for pleasure and enjoyment as well...
    Ciao, Andreas

    "Software is like sex, it's better when it's free." - Linus Torvalds


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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    Hobbyists make the best professionals. They almost always end up putting the necessary time in to make it happen the way it is supposed to.

    ahoodin

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas Masur
    Well...first of all...I did not want to offend anybody (especially the author). Neither did I meant to say the article was wrong or bad written. If someone gets the impression from my previous post, I apologize for this...
    Perhaps I should apologize. I didn't mean to imply that I was offended. I was just challenging your statements. I disagree (obviously) that professional is defined as employed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas Masur
    Human nature always let people believe they are professionals as what they do...this is a natural thinking...would you ever say: Well, I program but I am really bad at it?
    Funny, I say I'm bad at things many would disagree with all the time. For instance, I routinely quote my 6th grade English teacher when I say I "shouldn't do anything that involves a lot of writing as a career." Let's just say that grammar and I are barely on speaking terms. I often tell others that I'm not good at one or more aspects of what I do. I did it today with a client. I think that's more about realizing that you are not defined by your profession.

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Tacker
    <snip>and who said, hobbyist's dont make money? there are hobbysists who spend lots of time on their hobbies... so, do they become professional?
    Well, the IRS says that they're running a business, but that's a slightly different story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Tacker
    Take [Robert] the author... in the endnote of the article, it has information about the author... do we say he is a professional or a hobbyist?
    Neither ... computer bum ... or perhaps "Still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up" -- I don't know the word for that.

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by ahoodin
    Hobbyists make the best professionals. They almost always end up putting the necessary time in to make it happen the way it is supposed to.
    So I guess people aren't agreeing with me that professional doesn't equate to competency. There are many professional but incompetent people that I know ...

    However, I do sincerely agree that those who enjoy what they are doing and do it as a hobby as well are generally much better suited to succeed in a profession.

    Sidebar: Are we alone in being both hobbiests and professionals? Do lawyers go home and sue people just for fun? (Don't answer that...)

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    This is an interesting topic that stresses the "strangeness" of my work pretty well. I work for a small company that was living 5 years with only one person doing everything. When I joined, I became the first employee, but it was still a "family thing". Since I've been working there, I always felt personally committed to the final program and most of the time enjoyed the work.

    It certainly started out like a hobbyist thing and I still think of it that way. By your defintion, I think I fall under the professional category. However it doesn't feel that way.

    Now, for the general case, I don't think that incompetent people can be labelled "professional". They are just lucky to get paid even though they are not skilled.

    For instance, I routinely quote my 6th grade English teacher when I say I "shouldn't do anything that involves a lot of writing as a career." Let's just say that grammar and I are barely on speaking terms.
    Well, when I was 13 we did a test at my school and it transpired that I was much better at languages than at maths. I still went on to study maths If you are interested in something you can become very good at it, even if you're not going to be one of the world's best (something I found out to my detriment in maths ).
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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    Originally posted by YvesM
    If you are interested in something you can become very good at it, even if you're not going to be one of the world's best
    True, I agree 100%.
    I am a chess player (a hobbyist ) and after I lost a game 3 years ago from the Greek chess champion what he said to me was: "Chess is 90% work and 10% talent". This is not obvious to most people.
    Extreme situations require extreme measures

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Professional?

    This is an interesting discussion, and has made me thing of an interesting point.

    How many other professions can we think of where people are 'hobbiests' ?

    (1) Doctors. Nope.
    (2) Lawyers. Nope.
    (3) Architects. Unlikely.
    (4) Chartered Surveyors. Nope.
    (5) Nurses. Possibly, I'd say nope.

    Why ? Because to become a true professional in any of these subjects requires you not only to do a degree, but also to do further qualifications which determine the quality of your work.

    As I've said before - anyone can be a programmer. Dustbin man one day, programmer the next.

    There are no professional bodies to which a programmer must affiliate themselves to be recognised as obtaining a certain level of competency.

    This has really hurt the industry in my opinion. I'm sure we've all worked with people who we really don't know how they ever got employed in the first place.

    I just find it highly interesting (and a little depressing) that we're having this discussion at all. It just simply wouldn't happen in other professions.

    That said, developing software isn't really considered a professional job by most people : it's just considered a job done by nerds for nerds.

    A pretty poor state of affairs if you ask me... ho hum.

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    Re: Dev Article Discussion: What's the Difference Between a Hobbyist and a Profession

    As I've said before - anyone can be a programmer. Dustbin man one day, programmer the next.
    If that Dustbin programmer starts at the bottom, but shows dedication, ingenuity and competancy, shouldnt he have the same chance that the guy with the piece of paper does? Does it bother you that you would have to compete with such a person? What if you were out coded by a former garbage man. As a matter of fact, what if he coded circles around you?

    That would turn out to be quite embarassing for you.

    What do you think is the likelyhood of that? If he was a bad coder, would he maintain his position?

    it's just considered a job done by nerds for nerds.
    So what.

    A pretty poor state of affairs if you ask me... ho hum.
    what do you do when you dont like something?

    Get out. I am not saying you should...but really thats what I would do if I didn't like my field.

    FWIW,

    ahoodin

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