After being out of college for about 3 years, I figure I spend less than 15-20% of my time designing software and/or coding. Lots of things (email, paperwork, meetings, and jockeying the version control, defect software) seems to consume the rest. The coding I do isn't very innovative, since a lot of it is related to implementating various requirements -- we don't take evolutionary leaps.
I'm interested in hearing other monk's opinions on how much time they spend doing actually interesting computer stuff -- and what field/area/industry they are in. Essentially I'm wondering if certain industries allow programmers to spend more time embracing the field and less time embracing Corporate America. Currently in my spare time, I'm going deeper into things I'm interested in -- Perl, OpenGL, Linux stuff, etc -- and learning some new things I didn't pay too much attention to before -- CSS, functional programming, more AI, etc.
To me, "Computer Science" should still be about math and science and algorithms (not just business-oriented stack diagrams and UML -- though I understand those, they don't thrill anyone), to some extent, and I feel that staying attached to the same corporate machine for so long may be dulling my senses -- becoming a corporate drone rather than the shake-the-world-up kind of coder I want to be. Is it always the same wherever you go? Or do you just have to write open-source stuff on the side to have fun and advance your skills? As it stands, if I hear the word "middleware" or "enterprise software" one more time I may have to go medieval on someone :)
Reading some monks home-nodes, it appears some esteemed monks live rather normal lives, essentially Bruce Wayne turning into Batman except that Batman codes awesome Perl modules instead of fighting crime. Is that how I need to keep my sanity? If so, to the batcave!