Passion vs Hard Work For a Software Developer? - Reading Time: 4 Minutes

"Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams."

By Donovan Bailey


Which is more more important? Hard Work or Passion? Will you pick passion first or hard work?

With Passion you could move mountains without ever feeling that your doing work at all or you would pick hard work?

Since by going for the hard working work ethic, you could do almost anything. By grinding through obstacles or challenges that comes your way.

Laying down the foundations

First of all when i say either hard work or passion, a lot of things will come to your mind. So i'm gonna throw down my own definitions of how i view hard work and passion.

Hard Work != Working Routine or Doing Physically Intense Work

Hard work to me actually means that your working on tough problems, doing work that is at the highest possible quality you could produce  which is of great value to someone.

It's not something that i view it as doing work that seems to feel mundane or routine and generally physical intensive. Which could be part of it but not fully the main focus of it.

As a software developer in startup, you will always be challenged to do something that is difficult or perform at the higher level than you are in like solving hard and complex problems.    

The Sparkle in your Eye that's called Passion

For Passion to me, it's more of matter on one's spirit and belief in yourself in doing work that you love to do.

That time is like sand that blows away in the winds from you without noticing while doing your work.

Passion might even mean that you feel proud of doing the work and always amazed of the things you learn while doing work that you truly love.

Passion is the spark in your eyes where you pour your heart and soul to doing work that produces the highest quality. 

Decisions Decisions Decisions....

Since i had gotten the definitions out of the way. Which would you choose? 

I bet that it will be pretty hard since both of it has their merits.  It even gotten me to think about it even more when i had read the book by Angela Duckworth's book on "Grit"

Which talks about her research and practices on Grit from West Point. One of the world renown military school for military officer training  to coaching sports team in the National Football League (NFL) in America.

I would really suggest you to grab the book or watch the TED talk of it which i would include it to the links for this post.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

What really got me thinking that hard was the part in her book on Grit and video by Traversy Media on "The Importance of Passion and Hard Work".

Which is the link between hard work and passion through the act of one's deliberate practice, it indirectly raises and produces passion for the work.

Which is actually quite amazing cause both passion and hard work is just really the two side of the same coin.

Because without passion you could do hard work to the point, that you feel passionate about work as you gain mastery or understanding of the work your doing.

Software Development As a Craft

This is actually quite inline with a growing trend of "Software Developer is a Craftsman" movement that is happening to our profession as well. 

Which emphasize on a developer to take on the mentality as a craftsman.

By being passionate by constantly improving one's craft in doing hard work, that produces software of the highest level of quality. 

With the pride as one that produces a great piece of software.  Instead of the outsourcing practice of mass production in a assembly line of a factory that usually is associated in the realms of companies that doesn't value engineering talents.

In "Obstacle is the Way" by Ryan Holiday,  i read about a interview of a  award winning bluegrass jazz musician that talks about it.

Which despite living in bad living conditions, the musician was  ecstatic in writing and playing songs that challenges his understanding of bluegrass jazz which hours just flys pass to perfect his command of the music instrument. 


First of all i would like to emphasize that you don't actually need to have both passion and hard work when you start in order to become a software developer. 

As i was definitely not that passionate in being software developer much less a web developer due my training in university.

As times goes i become better and better in doing software development.

That lead me to read more and consume books that help to aid me in becoming better and better in my craft as a software developer.

I believe as i continue becoming better as both a craftsman and a software developer. It will open opportunities that great software and add tremendous value to people's lives.

Lastly I would be thankful of my training during national service, working part time as waiter for 2 years and my schooling days that cultivated in me the tendency for hard work.

To take on challenges regardless of how tough the obstacles or challenges that i face.

Which till this day, proves to be very useful for me to working in tech startup or a software developer in general.

The Importance Of Passion & Hard Work

Grit: The power of passion and perseverance By Anglea Duckworth

Obstacle is the Way By Ryan Holiday

Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship