[SATLUG] Burned out programmer

Robert Pearson e2eiod at gmail.com
Tue Aug 16 03:12:05 CDT 2011

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 12:49 PM, Donald L Wilcox
<dwilcox at neonnightrider.com> wrote:
> Thanks, everyone for your responses.
> Mike, to respond to your comment, yes, I try new technologies when I can. The reason I didn't mention it is because the nature of my position and positions I've had in the past.
> I've changed my major now 3 times since I was 18, took two years off, etc., so when I first programming professionally at 20, my first gig was a front-end dev at a "startup"/SEO firm where I wore a lot of hats and was all I could get with no hard experience, and I changed to another agency after that until 2.5 years ago where I started where I currently am now.
> That said, the company I work for now is fairly large and has a complete IT department; however, I'm part of a different department because of organizational issues in the past that required an in-house developer outside of IT, so I in essence work in the same capacity as I did when I was at the startups.
> 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.

"No Respect" happens to all of us. Finding the right Management
situation for "My Creativity" is important. Wayne Gretsky, the great
hockey player, has some quotes that apply.
"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player
plays where the puck is going to be."
"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."

Most Management only follow the puck. It is worse as the company gets larger.
When interviewing it is helpful to determine where on the "Puck
Continuum" you feel Management is.
[Puck Continuum]
"puck was here --- puck is here --- puck will be here"  Where am I?

> 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.

Developers are like writers. They have to write or perish. For some,
solving problems is where it is at and more fun.
SysAdmin is typically about solving Lower Metric problems. Al
Castanoli's reply is the type of problem most of us long for but
seldom get.
Here is an alternative to SysAdmin worth looking into with your background.
There once was a career for Systems Analysts. One of the new careers
is for SOA Analysts. Currently this is considered to be mostly Java
programming. This may not be challenging or creative enough. Consider
this excerpt from Kernel Architect's reply to the SATLUG thread
"Choosing Virtualization technology"::
[begin quote]
"On a 'end-user' non-enterprise level, Type 2 (hosted on top of
another OS) is probably the
best way to go. These include VirtualBox, Parallels and VMware. Because
there is more translation for a command in the guest to reach the actual
hardware, the performance is slower than a bare-metal (Type 1) hypervisor.
For 99% of users out there, Type 2 is where it's at and there is no reason
to look at Type 1.

Type 1 naturally gives you better performance (which enterprises want to get
the most ROI) and the enterprise vendors such as VMware produce tools that
make management of large environments easy. The hypervisor itself is
commodity now a days, and all of the value is in the management stack built
around the hypervisor. Having advanced features that allow you to move
virtual machines from one host server to another (on-the-fly while running)
or changing back-end datastores (on-the-fly while running), advanced
snapshotting, integration with enterprise storage platforms (EMC, NetApp),
etc. are what businesses are looking for."
[end quote]

Stack Management is a big coming thing. All of those requests and
limited resources and worse, very limited access to those limited
resources. It will take a combination of skills and broad knowledge of
"hardware/OS/SOA/Systems Programming/Applications Layer" requirements
to deal with this solution. Only the big shops are doing this now. One
day it will live on your cell phone tablet. It could live on a good
laptop now.

> Donald Wilcox
> Web Developer
> --
> Phone: (210) 651-2087
> Cell: (313) 478-6323
> LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/donaldwilcoxjr
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Kernel Architect" <kernel.architect at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 12:01
> To: "The San Antonio Linux User's Group Mailing List" <satlug at satlug.org>
> Subject: Re: [SATLUG] Burned out programmer
> Donald,
> I'm about to run out the door, so I'll send a more detailed response later,
> but I know of a few roles where you would probably shine and you should
> love. I deal with many clients a year from SMB to F500 and know about every
> position from the entry level MIS assistant up through CTO. You definitely
> have some skills and education that could put you solidly in a higher-level
> architecture/solutions role that would be both challenging and rewarding.
> I'll speak to this when I respond later.
> Don't despair. IT is an awesome industry with just a hair over 3%
> unemployment (which is considered just about full employment). There are no
> shortage of jobs (excellent paying as well) for well qualified candidates.
> Thanks,
> Ernest
> 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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