Apologies in advance for a corny topic, I want to write about this because it is where I currently am in life.
I recently left the best possible company for my career, it was in the area, the software we were developing was new, I could choose what to work on and create work for myself, limited freedom to do what I want. Moreover it used languages and technologies that headed into the direction that I wanted my career to head in. After about a year tho I didn’t feel like it was my place to be in, the hours were startup style and the software was still ‘software’, I really want to work in game programming. Now I can already see some responses “Game development will still have the same old boring bugs” or “Sounds like you just do not like programming”. Which I can see why they are said, however during my studies at university we had a year long game project alongside game artists doing a full production. I’ve learnt the subtle difference between game programming (or what you are passionate about, e.g. neural net, distributed compute etc.) and generic software development.
The day job of solving bugs and creating new solutions will lack that extra bit of passion and excitement that you volunteer to the project. Regardless of the project, I love solving problems, not just programming but in my life, in my hobbies, especially in programming tho because it brings in constraints, you know this realm but at the same time it’s so vast that you can never stop learning new things about it. At the end of a solve I run the test, test passes, I get a little green message that says ‘Unit test 100%, no leaks detected.’, then I run my test scenario and it does all its other testing. For example if it was a banking software maybe it would test some example transactions, test some simulated attack and make sure the attack doesn’t get through. At the end of the day it’s not what I want to create, I want to create games that’s why I got into the industry. You have a different drive, it could be wanted to create the next machine learning program you here about in Google news or you want to make the best VR medical simulation software that saves lives. Whatever you want to do, that’s why you chose being a programmer over being something else, or perhaps you have another reason?
I would have to suggest though, that if you are still studying or just recently finished, to pick up any job you can that is in your field. Ideally of course you want to dive into game programming, or AI or VR, but really get that experience to kick off your career for just a year or two. Then with that reference you can really get into the job you want. Life’s too short to just go to work and get paid, find out what you want in life for you so you enjoy going to work.