Career Change? my issues with development in the modern age

So I just got out of a meeting to be told my code isn’t good enough and to go and find another job. The thing is, I’ve been doing development for over 10 years now and I’ve seen a change in the culture…

People are no longer grateful that you can do the work and get it done for their clients. Clients aren’t the same. Everyone claims to be an expert and continue to tell you, the professional, how to do your job and how long it will take. People want the world for the price of peanuts. Clients say things like “Hey while you’re doing that can you just do X, Y and Z it shouldn’t take long because I watched a tutorial vid on youtube…” they don’t take into consideration a solution may be easy and quick on a video in a stand alone environment but try integrating it into their codebase…When was the last time you said to your mechanic “this is what is wrong with the car and I saw a 10 minute youtube vid so it should take you 10 minutes…”, never right? and when was the last time you turned to your doctor and said “while your removing my appendix can I get a boob and nose job and a tunny tuck?”, never! so why does this seem to be what people think is “the norm” in development?

Employers rely on their dev teams to assess new recruits, this has led to a change in culture where everyone nitpicks at your code every time you submit some. Even if the solution works and is 100% its like “oh you haven’t commented here” or “I would have done it this way…”. 10+ years of my life have been wasted trying to appease several big and small companies styles and making sure I explain how things work, etc. I’ll tell you what, why don’t YOU sit and read the code and understand it, yes comments are a good way to save time but if these people don’t know how a piece of code works by reading it then why do they think they have the right to assess my work and be critical. All these developers are trying to out-tech each other and I’ve found people who I called friends for years and colleagues would rather tell the employer (who takes their word for it everytime) that you have no idea what you’re doing, even after over 10 years in the industry! Doing this is just for their own gain, to make them look the better developer in the eyes of the employer. It’s no longer about getting the job done its about making the code look pretty too (this isn’t cosmetics this is development).

So after 10+ years in the industry I’m thinking of getting out, there are far too many cowboy companies setting up because “thats where the money is” and way too much criticism and expectation laying on the shoulders of developers today. I’m sick of the culture of “my code is better than yours and for that we’re moving you on” and “we need x,y and z I know you said it would take 6 months but we need it by monday, no leeway can be given”. People have this perception of this glamorous high paid job but I get paid less that a car mechanic and will probably have to take a paycut to get another position again I’m done with it but where to go next? Development has been my life and I have a family to feed these days.

NB: I never submit code that has errors in it, I thoroughly test it first, criticism comes from the way the code looks or the technique (which uses todays modern standards)

The constant negativity is doing nothing in the battle against depression :frowning:

Am I just rambling on and not making any sense or does any one else see this shift lately?


Aye. Same here. See it on both sides - junior dev’s worshipping the newest craze causing havoc in the codebase and seniors ridiculing supposedly new concepts like closures and self-sabotaging because the new stuff is just plain wrong and cannot be read. Seems like it’s no longer about shipping quality software - it seems to be about showing off, office politics and adhering to agile processes to the T even if it does not work. A couple of month ago, I started to just shut up and let them talk their talk…

…want to get out of these childlike battles of opinions, useless meetings and unagile agile retrospectives. Some grounded guys in my team left already. I soon will follow. I recently quit my position, need to stay there for a couple of more weeks. Planned this since a year and saved money like crazy to be able to do this - not sure how it will work, but I’m sure I will heal. I need to slow down and refocus on myself, my family and my techincal skills so I can enjoy work again.

@cnaimhin: Being forced out is a different topic. I wish you all the best and I know the advice that follows may sound crazy if you’re in that dark place, but if you can survive a couple of month without having an income you may use the ‘opportunity’ to heal mentally, be there for your family and rediscover what made development fun in the first place. Not sure if, but if you can afford it, see a counselor or therapist, read the stuff on devpressed, ask for help and opinion. This bad situation might be a good place to be in. For me it was and sometimes still is. I’m finally healing and growing :smile:


I’ve been a programmer for 4 years now, and I can tell you I’m fed up dealing with people. The only reason that keeps me going is that I’m building something for myself right now. I honestly enjoy the shit out of coding, but doing it under unnecessary pressure, mediocre standards, or dealing with half-brained idiots whom are easily gullible by their own kind (entrepreneurs), it isn’t for me. Man, I should’ve major in business, wore a cheap suit, talk about entrepreneur shit all day, underpay all my employees… man that’s life, I would probably last a day after realizing how useless I would’ve been to the equation overall and just shot myself with an elephant tranquilizer gun between the eyes. So in the end, I guess I didn’t make the worst decision, it’s just the assholes around me that make it worse. Anyway, I don’t know for how long you’ve been searching, but I do hope that you can find the right people that know your worth.


I could be wrong but it looks like time management was an issue. Of course, if you write integration/unit tests, you’re investing more time than Jimmy Junior Dev whose word you have to trust if he says it works.

I’ve talk to a lead dev recently who does everything by the book. 100% test coverage. Team members have to submit pull requests. Code reviews and pair programming etc. I was very impressed by the quality of the work. Obviously he invested some time making sure his project is being run the way he wants to.

My point about this is as a dev, you have to fit into the company’s culture.

I’ve seen it a couple of times. Good experienced developers being let go because they’re used to do things a certain way and it it leads to frictions within the team. That doesn’t mean the team is bad or the developer is bad… it’s simply a bad fit.


Oh yes. I’ve been in and out of software development since 1999. Currently on yet another cycle of burnout from job-induced anxiety and depression, trying to figure out a viable escape. The jobs have 100% gotten worse. Expectations are simply ridiculous and “agile” tries to squeeze as much out of devs as possible without much regard for their well-being.

I’m now old enough to have seen young programmers start their careers with excitement, energy and a healthy touch of youthful arrogance, only to find themselves completely crushed in their late 20s, early 30s because of demoralizing project failures, anxieties about performance, and exhaustion from trying to keep up their skills. And since they don’t have the perspective to understand how the industry has changed over the last 15-20 years, they can only come to the conclusion that they must be stupid, inadequate coders or just not “cut out” for the career.

It’s really really sad.


How can we fix it? .

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I swear to god agile is mostly the culprit,

Expecting the developer to be the Project manager, Business Analyst, QA and then Ops just really makes the burder heavier while people on those positions aren’t even asked to code, I swear the next job I’ll get I’d make sure that I would not code without a requirements document and test cases which should not be written by me,

Hey man, I can list at least 3 non-cowboy companies off the top of my head.

Just go find one that has great technical leadership.

One thing I have found, is there are far too many “Salesmen” trying to blindly run and lead tech companies. This is, in my experience, a recipe for disaster.

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I’ve been in the SE busines since 1999. I’ve quit in 2008 to become a freelancer and right now I always try to find projects where I can play by own rules.

I encourage you to do the same. While finding clients is not the best part about being freelance, by building a professional network you might find projects easier.

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Pretty much why I left software engineering after almost 10 years myself: plus being told that they can replace me with 3 Indian guys tomorrow, constantly having to learn the newest tech to get the simplest tasks done, and even if the code is right, it’s never “right”, even if it functions exactly as they ask.


I wonder how you guys are doing.

Just like the quote says, i’m also on yet another burnout cycle from job-induced anxiety and trying to figure out a viable escape.

The best plan I can come up with right now is to submit my resignation, use my tax refund to go to Thailand for a month and hope to find a better fit when I return. Not exactly a career plan.

It doesn’t help that the noise level at my office is brutal. We are currently located in temporary quarters while we wait for our new office to be completed. I hear phones ringing all the time and it gives me headaches.

I have been seeing a therapist since october and I feel like that investment of 120$/hours has yielded zero improvements. I just can’t seem to keep my anxiety in check.

I’m curious about the situation of senior devs in the US. How many hours per week do your work ? Do you get paid overtime ? How do you feel about agile/scrum ?


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This is exactly what happened to me. Lol. Pinpoint.

I was a senior dev for a short time. I started by working 40-45 hours a week for the first few weeks getting my feet wet. I would normally work 60 once I really got going. By my last week, the week before I left because my body was nearly collapsing and I almost had to go back to the ER from stress, I worked somewhere in the low 90s in terms of hours.

Just an update over here. I actually have taken the dive and made a career change into teaching Math. I plan to start looking for jobs once I have taken all my exams, and my expected starting salary (based on the county payscale here) is going to be the 3rd highest job offer I’ve ever had (2nd highest if you count on a per hour basis), without the insane hours that comes with being a software engineer, and getting two months off a year.

Plus, unlike being yelled at constantly by supervisors, the experience I’ve had doing freelance tutoring has given me confidence to make this career change, as I’ve done better at it than I ever did coding for someone for the reasons the OP gave (code is 100% functional but not “pretty” enough).

As for coding? I code now as a hobby, trying out new projects as I see fit.

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I was in a similar situation. Normal workload at first - then I had my first all-nighter within about 3 weeks. Then we hired more devs (with little experience) and expanded the team (more projects and expectations) and then it became really hard to manage my time. Serious issues would come up all the time - too many meetings - unrealistic deadlines - shitty work conditions.

After about a year, I was collapsing. I had to go to the doctor and pay for a health evaluation (blood work etc). I thought my cardiovascular health was in decline.

I quit and even though i’m still out of work, I’m glad I’ve been able to get back into shape. It’s been 3 months and I feel like i’m getting my strength back.

Congrats on having the strength and courage to make that career change. That’s something I’d like to do as well.

Yeah. The best advice I could give to people who are thinking about going into software engineering.

  1. Don’t go into it unless you really really love coding and you would even do it for free.

AND even then:

  1. Do extensive research on companies first to see how they treat their tech employees. Many companies I went to treated their tech employees much more strictly than other employees, usually much worse.
  2. If you can’t research, see if your local or state government has jobs available. They don’t pay as well as the big guys, but they do try to keep to a 40-hour a week schedule and pay as well or even better than smaller companies do. My 2nd highest paid job was with a gov’t contractor.
  3. If taking a new job, relocate. Don’t stay in the same town. Easier said than done if you have a spouse and kids, but a change of scenery can help you out a bit. I think I stayed so long in one city (the city I grew up in) that by the time I did relocate, I was so burnt out from everything I couldn’t think straight.
  4. Don’t assume the average salaries of what you see on websites are what you can offer. If you don’t live in Silicon Valley, San Fran, Seattle, or a big tech-friendly town like that with a high cost of living, chances are you’re going to be negotiating for much lower than the average. I spent all but one job well below the national average.

I used to love coding. Now I do it as a hobby and I barely tinker with it these days because I’m still needing to rest. I visit the psych bi-weekly helping me through this career change. It was scary at first. I felt like, and other superiors in the past would tell me, that all I can be is a software engineer. That was what I specialized in, so that was what I would end up as, and I was useless elsewhere. Clearly that wasn’t the case, as I’ve proven the last couple years as a tutor, and now moving on to being a teacher, and who knows what else beyond that.

Congratulations on the change! You’ll probably get a pension too.

I work in government. It has it’s own set of problems like being terminally underfunded, senior management with no clue, a user base that struggles with pivot tables, and a lot of fights over nothing. This says more about me but I find it very stressful. It’s not stressful because of the work, or it’s hard, it’s stressful because some genius will decide you can’t do something, because that’s what he decided, and that’s the end of it.

But, it does not have 90 hour work weeks. And it’s incredibly hard to get fired once you pass probation. Your soul might leave you, you might crave for something, anything to do, but absent major emergencies and crazy dysfunction (which I can confirm happens) it’ll be a lot more normal than the places you guys are describing.

I’m kind of convinced that most tech environments are dysfunctional or can turn so at the change of a manager. I’m not sure how I’m going to get out but I’m certain that doing so would be the right thing for me, especially after what I’ve recently gone through. I have a finance degree, may pick up a master’s in it, and see if I can use that to transition out into a more analytical role.

All the problems you mentioned to me I have already had to deal with as a software engineer. So if I get that without the 90 hour work weeks and better job security, worst case scenario is already a major step up. Lol.