Life as a Software Developer

Are you new to writing code? Or have you mastered the arts and sciences of programming? Do you love coding in high level languages like python, java or C#, or you are a wizard in embeddable programming in C, or assembly language? Are you into abstract applications of programming like solving complex differential equations or do you fancy developing web applications? Regardless of what you use the skill of programming to do? We always go through the same things:


We have to cope with constant change

Well, to be fair, every human being (perhaps animals and plants thanks to climate) has to cope with change. But really, change in the software development world is different. We software developers have to cope with learning new processors; more exciting frameworks; more efficient programming languages; not to talk about upgrading our operating systems to support the kind of applications we want to install. As a spring-boot developer, change is common place. By the time the application you are developing goes live, the spring framework version you are using gets obsolete and the next thing that you must think of is how to upgrade. You will probably face coping with new software framework releases dealing with open source projects. It’s an awesome thing to know that frameworks are developing at a faster pace, but discipline is needed to cope with the change.

Be careful not to lose yourself

Have you ever walked along the road and someone angrily taps you on the head and yells, “Hey! Can’t you hear me greeting you.” Of course you cannot. You are busy thinking about whether or not to use reactive streams to handle event’s coming from state delta changes. But then again, you remember that the person is not in your head so you just have to apologize. On some days, the only thing I think about is solving the problem at hand. I guess the sage software developer portrayed wisdom by saying “One of the hallmarks of a good software developer is knowing when to walk away”. Indeed this is true. Many times that I resigned to the excruciating fate of not solving a problem on a particular day, after a much needed rest, I find the solution to that problem within the first hours of the next day. So once again devs… WALK AWAY.

We love all those HIGH’s

Oh, and those euphoric feelings you get when you pull of something complex and make it look simple? Who could get over that? I think it’s one of the perks plying a trade that has to do with “creating something out of nothing”. It makes you feel like you are working along-side God in doing his fantastic work of creation. One of the reasons I became endeared to programming is that with the right skill set and CPU, you could tell the computer to do anything. However, these feelings have caused a lot of developers to re-invent the wheel. Is it that you do not know that there is already a library that can handle conversion of a byte to a hexadecimal string? I mean why on earth would you want to re-create that? Although we all want to have that feeling that we created something, let’s not forget that what we create, we should be ready to manage. And if we are not prepared to manage such libraries, its best we find existing ones – ones that are managed by other organizations, there are lots of them I assure you!


Don’t forget those depressing moments

I recently hit a wall in development trying to figure out Hyperledger Sawtooth, and apply it to one of my projects. At that gigantic wall, faced with an abysmal feeling of despair, I had to re-evaluate my life’s choices. I also had this exact same feeling when I was trying to figure out how to implement the card personalization standard for Mastercard. With a bit of courage, I picked myself up, dusted myself and I am moving forward. Things are going to get though, like a wise entrepreneur always says, don’t let short term set-backs get to you. Think always of the long term. With a little perseverance, we will always see something really beautiful coming out from that supposedly gleam situation.

You want to know everything but then again… you cant.

I told myself one day that I wanted to explore Java 9. Out came spring framework 5, and oh, that one too! Let’s add it to my list. What about distributed ledgers? Machine learning? Big data? Artificial Neural Networks? Then the list of things to learn compiles. Don’t forget that we are on a tight deadline to deliver a feature and if you are in a fast growing organization like mine, you will be saddled with a lot of responsibilities here and there. With all these responsibilities, our learning list slowly becomes just a list and nothing more. Even worse, the list becomes a depressing agent for you because it constantly reminds you of all you failed to do. In these situations my dear, take life one step at a time. All that matters is your focus, not the amount of strides you take. Even if it takes you 10 years to finish your list (if you can even finish your list), the most important thing is that you learn something new every day. Make that a habit.

You find yourself googling or stack-overflow-ing the same thing over and over again

Well, what can I say, there’s no fix for this. Sorry.

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