I officially became a 'professional' programmer! A professional gets paid for what they do...doesn't matter if they know what they are doing, or if they can do it well, or how much they get paid...they are still technically a professional if they get paid for it.
Over on donationcoder.com there is a coding snacks forum where people submit requests for small utility applications that would take an hour or less to create. I spotted one that would be a quick request to fill...all I would have to do is add a few lines of code to an existing application I had already written. It was for a stopwatch that would either stay always on top, or min to tray, that could be controlled with a global hotkey. I had already made one that stayed on top and could be minimized to the tray...just needed to add the hotkey to it and the request would be filled.
I didn't do it for money...didn't expect to get any either. But when I announced that the request was filled and posted a download link, about 5 minutes later I got an email from mouser, the guy that runs the site. He put $0.50 in my micropayments account in appreciation of my work! The next day, someone else I don't even know added another $0.10!
I know this isn't much...and most people would laugh at an amount so small, but it meant a lot to me. Another $0.40 and I will have made my first dollar as a programmer. And this wasn't because people HAD to pay me...it was because they WANTED to. I think that makes it even more special to me.
I will frame that first $1 when I get it and treasure it forever...it means that much to me. It's a personal goal accomplished...a dream fulfilled.
Follow up: April 27, 2006:
I recieved another 100 credits today, so now I have gone past the $1 mark :-D
Follow up: Friday, June 2, 2006:
When I originally made this post, and the previous follow up, I thought the scale for donation credits was same as US currency and that 100 credits was $1...turns out I was very wong. 10 credits = $1...so it wasn't $0.50 that mouser gave me, but $5.00! And that $0.10 I thought I got the next day was really $1...and the additional 100 credits was $10! WOW!
Follow up: Saturday, September 9, 2006:
I have recieved my first dollar, signed by mouser. It is now in a frame, hanging above my desk. :-D