I just got an interesting comment from a mysterious Mike. I'm not sure which Mike he is because he didn't leave an email or home page. (I've got to fix that...)
I have read similar opinions regarding open source and personal finance and the logic is flawed. Developing open source software can help with increasing your value as a software engineer and your marketebility. It also help you learn new technologies from the best developers at a faster rate and for free.
Posted by Mike
I agree that doing OSS development is a good way to learn new tech, promote yourself and additionally to make contacts. However, there's a limit to this. I'm not abandoning my feelings towards OSS (which is that in general it rocks and is the only effective weapon against a Microsopoly) nor my efforts to post open and free code when I get a chance. I'm only talking about spending more time on other things that will have a more direct impact on my bank balance. This includes focusing more on projects that I will eventually sell, studying for and passing industry certifications, and studying about and participating more in the business side of things.
This last bit is the most important. Being a code monkey is not really where the money is at. Being a "business" guy is (look at the guys driving the Landrovers where you work). The busines owners, the salesmen, the directors and the rest of the guys "upstairs" are who are making the real cash. Being a techy can get you paid well, but only for a limited time. There was once a point in my life where every new technology I learned doubled my salary. That point is long past. Since I can't go back in time and get a PhD in CompSci my shelf-life as a techy is limited at best. And I have a friend who's been working at Oracle for 10 years. He's got a high level of expertise, seniority and a BUNCH of stock that at one point was an insane amount, but still is worth a pretty penny. I can't go back in time and do that either. So my options are limited as a 30 year-old in the tech world.
So, I can get some certs that show I'm competent in more architectural issues as opposed to the more hands-on stuff. I can start to focus on the business side at work (management, sales, etc.) I can focus on developing a product or technology that I can start a business with. Or I could just start a business with what I have now. (Being in business simply means selling something for a profit. That something can be your wonderful new technology invention or it can be soap suds. Knowing how and what to sell is the trick.) These are things that will eventually have an impact on my bottom line, where as yet another version of MiniBlog probably won't.
Anyways, some sort of major shift is near as my priorities are changing in a big way. Ask me if I want to be Bill Gates or Linus Torvalds and right now I'll have to say Bill because he's got a bigger house. Get my drift?