Drupal: So powerful it's... boring?
Drupal development pays well, but some feel it can also turn you into a click monkey; is it worth it?
Drupal, the well known open source content management system and framework, has turned out to be a boon for many people, particularly developers. While Drupal offers quite a bit of control in building and maintaining websites via its admin GUI, it’s got a steep learning curve and customization (not to mention debugging) often requires the help of an experienced developer. As a result, Drupal jobs have been abundant and well-paying. So, for Drupal developers, these are good times, right?
Well, sort of.
Drupal developer Mike Crittenden recently wrote about Drupal’s Golden Handcuffs. His main point is that, once you master the basics of site building via Drupal and its core contrib modules, life for a Drupal developer can get pretty boring; so much can be done via the admin GUI that you turn into a click monkey. The problem, though, is that the money to be made is so good it can be hard to walk away.
He also makes a good point that when you do need to dig into Drupal code or write your own, it can be really painful due to complex layers of core and contributed modules, poor or non-existent documentation, a database abstraction layer that’s more trouble than it’s worth, etc. So even when you finally get to (or have to) write some code, a lot of the fun has been removed.
Having spent a couple of years deep in the Drupal weeds, I’m familiar with his pain of debugging and customizing Drupal code. Much as I came to like Drupal, this aspect could be quite frustrating. In fact, after my kids, it may be the number two cause of my receding hairline. While I didn’t spend enough time with Drupal to get to the point of being bored with it, it’s not hard to imagine.
The question then is, what to do? Stay with a technology that makes you lots of money but which isn’t fun or challenging or bail on it and trade off higher pay for more fulfilling work.
Mike has chosen to stick with Drupal; the money is simply too good. I totally get that and wouldn’t blame anyone who made that decision.
For me, though, in general, when I’m not happy with what I’m doing all day, I try to find a way out and move onto something new, even if it pays less. I hate being bored, frustrated or miserable in my day job, no matter how delightful my coworkers or the office coffee.
But, if you’re like Mike and find that moving on or taking a pay cut isn’t the right option, what can you do to at least make your daily life more interesting? I can help with that.
If you’re a developer currently shackled with Drupal’s Golden Handcuffs, here are some suggested ways to make your day more enjoyable
Try doing all that clicking with your non-dominant hand
Use some of that Drupal money to buy a bigger TV and catch up on Honey Boo Boo while clicking around the GUI
Go nuts building stuff from K’Nex construction sets - actually, don’t do that; it’s creepy
Anybody else feeling shackled by Drupal?