a couple of comments.
First, I write ugly things to be able to spend some time on beautiful ones too - PL/SQL and VB during the day, Python and erlang at night. I try to inject some beauty into the ugly things when I can, but really it's ugly. It's a bad compromise.
The way I see it, there's three ways out. 1) write something stunning so that some "cool" company will want to hire me before I suck myself dry working for corporate america, 2) grad school, academia, and professorship (which carries its own problems) or 3) get out of the field entirely, do something radical, start a business, make coding a hobby.
I'm planning to stay light (few possessions, no living commitments) until I see an opportunity for one of the above so I can jump at it.
Second, I think it's the profit motive of companies that sucks them dry. Past a certain, very early, stage in their lives, companies become naturally very risk-averse. This makes boring good, and unimaginative the standard. A person who doesn't love any software will naturally want to pick only the safest, most boring programs to run, because these minimize his risk.
Or 3a, start a business where you're coding something that's cool. :)# Randall Randall
<p> I find myself in the same position, and have come across the same discovery. As a young person with very few possessions (non computer-related) and living out of a van in a ski town, one of the most frightening things is to end up getting "stuck" writing some of this boring stuff you all are talking about. I'd say the purest of the three options is to retain coding as a hobby. If one loves the beauty of good code, and loves creating it, one becomes a prep-cook, lives in a cabin (or van, heh...) and writes the good stuff after-hours. </p> <p> Also, it is apparent to me now that finding the meaning of "enough money" and "we need more profit" is the most important factor in remaining ethical and whole as a company. I've seen some Norwegian developers do this, but then, I've also seen them eat lutefisk. </p> <p> I am young and enjoy a certain level of ignorance, and will face the test of cash-flow soon enough. </p>