[SATLUG] Burned out programmer

Mike Wallace m.a.wallace at gmail.com
Fri Aug 12 13:20:35 CDT 2011

I know exactly what it feels like to be the lone developer subject to the
whims of others, especially those who don't view the developer's work as
something significant.  It was that type of experience that burnt me out on
a previous job.  When you have a team, even if it is just two or three
others, the responsibilities can be divvied up and it's not all on your
shoulders.  Not only that, but you would have other developers to learn
from, bounce ideas off of, etc.  Of course some teams have Corncobs (see
Project Management Anti-Patterns), but I'd take a team over going solo any
day.  The team dynamic allows you to focus rather than being a jack of all
trades.  It's the time slicing between a plethora of tasks that causes us to
feel "stretched thin."  I've had jobs on teams where I have been very busy
and worked long hours, but didn't have that stretched thin feeling because I
could maintain focus.  Anyway, at the root is still whether or not you enjoy
programming.  If you do, try to find a project or a new job that would get
you onto a team.  If not, then move on.

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 12:49 PM, Donald L Wilcox <
dwilcox at neonnightrider.com> wrote:

> What contributes to my dissatisfaction most is that dynamic. It makes me
> the only programmer, or, at a more practical level, the only person who can
> do [insert task here], coupled with the reality that I work with and under
> people with 0 technical experience (e.g. "I need you to code this up real
> quick.") but call all the shots. Getting to use a new technology that I want
> to use (key phrase) is rare because the VPs and Directors are swooning over
> the next iGadget, mobile-this, and app-that that we "should" be doing until
> we shouldn't be doing it. Then I tried to go to school and do competitions,
> write more code that I don't want to do (UTSA teaches nothing on new
> technologies, and hardly anything I think is important as a developer, like
> problem-solving and good coding practices.) and the same thing happened
> where we'd have projects where, you guessed it, I was the sole developer.
> 5 years isn't that long, but long enough for me to question the future. So
> far, I've never worked in a true development team, and at the moment I feel
> stretched thin, so I worry that I wouldn't be as effective even if I did
> work regularly with other devs. Certainly the position I'm in has brought
> valuable experience, but being the sole developer in a department of
> marketing and comm professionals means nobody "gets it." To them a dev is
> just a liability who better understand our work, but we don't need to
> understand his/hers.

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