[SATLUG] Burned out programmer

Lance Schneider schneider.lh at gmail.com
Fri Aug 12 11:05:32 CDT 2011

I shall share a different perspective and see if it helps shed any light.

I have been/had been in IT for nearly 30 years. Most of my experience was in
developing technologies we all are quite familiar with at this time. Lots of
start-ups and Fortune 100 companies alike  - but I was mostly
hardware/infrastructure. I have had a hand in everything from mainframes
down to digital surveillance. In addition to design; for a part of my career
I was field support, then network administration, and supervisory/management
positions. I loved all of it - with my favorite, least monotonous work being
network engineering, LAN Administration and that ilk.

What I regret and am trying to change is that I did not focus more on
programming. One of the observations I have made over the past three decades
is that it has been easier to be Bill Gates than to be Michael Dell. By
that, I mean that the hardware by which data is exchanged is becoming
second-tier to the dynamic possibilities through software development.
Software has a brighter future less ardurous than hardware development.
Virtualization, distributed processing, cloud computing . . . are only going
to increase. Software, more than hardware is going to provide the vehicle
for that growth and the better job opportunities as well. Many companies are
tiring of being whatever the core business is AND also an IT company to
sustain their enterprise. The outsourcing of network management and
maintenance will continue to shift to third-party instead of in-house

Personally, I think your B.S. in Mathematics coupled with your professional
experience as a programmer has positioned you for many options others would
be less likely to "snag." As someone now displaced and unable to find hire
for four years despite my experience I would consider looking to get out of
programming as professional suicide. There is the other side of the coin
that if you are unhappy in the work you should find your place elsewhere. In
this economy? Not the time to allow dissatisfaction to guide such decisions.
It is far better to be unhappy while able to feed yourself. Beleive me.

Of the other postions you mentioned, I imagine that database administration
would be the better of the choices. There will still be monotony, but there
will be plenty to keep you occupied. There will not be a lot of down time.
That, in itself, is something else to consider. Programming is mostly
analagous to a foot race - you run at your best pace and it is an individual
effort even running in a group. DBA's are more in an Iron Man competition.
Databases and programming have strong, ongoing usefulness as other things
fluctuate. In any event, my twenties were spent jumping from one exciting
position to another. I can understand your current sentiments. The
difference is market and maturity of the IT field from when I was 25 to now
when you are 25. Pursue what it would take to certify and obtain a DBA
position but do so from the relative safety and comfort of your programming

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 10:32 AM, Donald L Wilcox <
dwilcox at neonnightrider.com> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I've been thinking about this for over a year now, and I thought I should
> ask around and get some ideas.
> I'm 25, in school currently finishing (as of last week) a B.S. in Math, and
> I have thought about a few paths to take after that. Before last week, I was
> a CS major because I work full-time as a developer, big interest in
> computers, etc. etc. I've been a professional developer for over 5 years
> now, and I have to say, I'm burned out with programming--so much so that I
> don't enjoy it anymore, and I can't think of any other career paths to
> transition into.
> I've tried writing in new languages just to see if I need to code in
> something other than HTML, CSS, JS, Java, and PHP, but to no avail, and at
> this point in my career, the work always turns dull, monotonous, and
> mundane, and I have accepted that no matter what I try to do, I can't keep
> the interest going.
> What I do enjoy is more sysadmin and systems programming stuff (command
> line stuff, DB systems, server administration) and a little bit of security
> (although programming security applications is not my cup of tea), but I
> don't know if moving into a sysadmin role is the right step or if it's even
> possible since I don't have any certs and not sure my current job will let
> me get any, and I'm not sure yet if the biz dev roles are my thing either
> since I've never worked in that realm.
> Has anybody ever had a similar situation?
> Donald Wilcox
> Web Developer
> --
> Phone: (210) 651-2087
> Cell: (313) 478-6323
> LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/donaldwilcoxjr
> --
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