Keeping up with Programming

Overcoming Challenges to Keep Programming

It’s been a few years since I’ve transitioned my role out of software development and into management. I remember after the first 6 months, I jumped back into some code and realized how much of a refresher I needed. It wasn’t just the code that I was having a difficult time with, it was the overall structure of the project. It didn’t take long for me to pump out code again at the same level (about a week or two), but it was an eye-opening experience: I couldn’t believe how much I forgot in such a short-span of time.

I started to struggle with my identity at that point. For the past 10 years I called myself a software developer, and now I technically couldn’t. I started to reflect on all the various IT Directors, CTO’s, CIO’s, etc, that I’ve spoken to throughout the years and I started to remember what they said: “I used to be a software developer, but I honestly don’t remember much anymore.”

I don’t know about you, but that kind of freaks me out :). I took on a programming project and quickly remembered why I wanted out. I didn’t like:

  • the deadlines
  • the pressure to debug quickly
  • the creation of the project without going deeper and understanding the programming language or framework
  • the client communication 🙂

I finished the project, the client was happy, and I was back to square one again. I liked the consistency of writing code each day, but I really don’t like the deadlines. So what to do?

That’s when it came to me. I could write books and tutorial series. It would keep me engaged daily and I could dig into programming languages and frameworks fully. I set a goal of writing an article a day, which forces me to write code. After nearly a year of doing it consistently, I have to say that my programming identity is still in tact.

I understand now the identity crisis that people undergo when changing their careers or when they’re ready to retire. It’s not easy to do something your whole life and then pivot. In my case it was a slight pivot, but it was still enough to cause an identity crisis :). Okay maybe it wasn’t that extreme, but I did think about it to the point that I re-incorporated programming into my life.


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