Reasons to Find Meaning in Programming
“Does my work matter?” – If you’ve been cruising the work field for more than a few years, you’ve likely asked yourself this at least once.
While those working in the field of programming are fortunate enough to have entered an environment where both demand and income sit way above average, the realization that long-term fulfillment is equally important as a hefty paycheck comes soon after. Professional growth and accomplishment are strongly connected to finding a core purpose and greater meaning in any career.
Finding the “whys” – Software Development and Global Impact
Taking these aspects into consideration, we propose a slight change to the question above: Why does my work matter?
Every job – big or small, part-time or full time – is important and there should be no question about that. However, the meaning of our work revolves around nurturing a sense of purpose and finding methods to connect everyday effort to a greater mission. Fortunately, a career in software development is also one that has the potential to touch a large number of people. As this is our case at R Systems – innovation and purpose go hand in hand.
After all, we are lucky enough to not only work in the tech field, but also to be involved in sectors that impact millions of people around the world – telecom & digitalization. So, finding a greater meaning should come a bit easier, right?
Well, this is what we aim to answer with our next Innovators pick blog posts. To do so, we are going to take a look at two solid examples of why our work carries such importance – both to be explored more in-depth in the main articles to follow.
#1. Innovating with purpose
Not too long ago, R Systems organized an internal hackathon to deliver a digital solution for “Ajungem Mari” – a Romanian non-profit organization that helps less fortunate children get access to education. The application was meant to replace the manual work of assigning volunteers to projects, matching volunteers with the children in need for their help, and efficiently organizing their tasks and schedules.
The hackathon brought together teams from Romania and Poland, in a competition aiming to bring out the technical solution best fitted to the NGO’s needs, while giving our teams the opportunity to learn and experiment with new technologies, and also to contribute directly to a charitable cause by doing what they do best.
While this meant challenging hours of work for our developers, what motivated them to push through was precisely the purpose: doing what we know to help improve other people’s lives. Two of our software engineers from the winning team share the experience in their own words:
“Covering almost all the needs of the organization was challenging,” Vlad says. “But what kept us motivated was not the need to prove ourselves. It was simply the fact that we got to help those children.”
“All in all, the hackathon was a very pleasant and interesting experience. The competitive side was what attracted me at first, but also the practical applicability of this app, especially being developed for a charitable purpose”, adds Cristi.
As for those benefiting from the application, the team at Ajungem Mari sure was grateful for what our colleagues accomplished. “I was very happy to see a lot of openness from the people that got involved. First, from the people organizing the hackathon and then from the winning team. They were very dedicated, listened to our needs, and found, or rather created from scratch, the proper solution that fits our needs.” – Emilia, Ajungem Mari
#2. The horizon beyond the keyboard
While the first example carries a lot of meaning, it is true that hackathons don’t happen every day. So where can IT experts find meaning in their everyday – mundane, if you want – work?
To answer this question, we had a very insightful conversation with Vlad Cojocaru – R Systems Senior Project Manager. Here’s a short tease on what to expect:
“I am here because I want to bring positive change around me; to make sure these big resources we have access to can contribute to the greater good.”
With more than 5 years in project management and a bit over 3 years with R Systems, Vlad still speaks about his work with the passion of someone fresh out of college: “My job as a project manager is to find the positive change that a project can bring and communicate this to the team. We impact millions of users, and if we don’t do it right, these people won’t be able to communicate with their loved ones, keep themselves safe online, or take advantage of all these great things technology can do to ease their lives.”
Asked about the projects that bring him satisfaction, he, again, puts meaning before anything else: “R Systems handles many types of projects, but one I take pride in has been developed for a large telecom provider in Austria – a project that is now live and users can take advantage of. In short, what this service does is notify people when they receive potentially fraudulent calls. The software reviews the dialer number, flags it as a fraud when that’s the case, and sends a warning message to the user.”
Having the opportunity to get involved in these open conversations with R Systems experts is nothing short of inspiring. They go on to show that focusing on the right things and committing to a greater goal are the best ways to advance not only your career, but also your purpose beyond the technology and the computer displays set in front of us every day.