Struggle and pain

2019-04-08

Every software developer I’ve ever worked with through their first few years has gone through the same pattern.

The first symptom is when they get frustrated. They feel like they’re getting nothing done. They’re bogged down by constant requests for meetings from people who have questions about the stuff they implemented two years ago. They’re trapped by the things they know.

This is a good sign, not that it feels like it at the time. I try to be reassuring, even though I’m secretly happy for them.

The struggle to find enough hours in the day signals a shift in their career. It’s part of maturing into a more senior developer. It’s a sign that more people are relying on them, and that the work they’re producing is making a difference.

That doesn’t solve the problem. They’re still in pain and need to do something about it. But that kind of constructive pain is like sore muscles after working out. If you go too long without feeling it, something is wrong.

Pain is an opportunity to get better. It pushes you to find new solutions, solve new problems, and grow as a person.

It’s not a helpful thing to tell somebody. But it’s true, and it’s a helpful thing to believe.