Considering my options outwith development

This is going to be a long one - be warned. Somehow putting it out there helps even if there is no practical advice to be got.

So going back around 2 weeks I got the sack - there’s a post kicking about re that so I’ll spare you the details. Since then I’ve put my cv out there - got overwhelmed by the bloody recruitment vultures, attended an interview which led to a 3 hour technical test where I got pretty negative feedback on the basis that I wasn’t where they expected me to be, applied for a part-time MSc in mobile web dev, applied for a trainee developers post and now I suppose I’m really feeling at the point of completely giving up and have just applied for a job on the production line of a local factory.

I keep swinging from the viewpoint that I should just pull the curtains on development as I seem to have been studying it and working at it for years now and not making any significant progress, and the idea of working harder to get better.

A little bit of background for some context. I was always good at school, top of the class, but by the time I was in high school I hated it - I had good friends but I just couldn’t handle it as an institution - for some reason I just can’t take to situations where you need to bow down to your ‘superiors’. I ended up spending my days travelling around the city all day staring out bus windows - and went through quite a serious stage of buzzing gas to kill the boredom. When I was officially old enough to leave school at 16 I started working and just really worked for the weekend. Ironically I did a computing and business government training scheme where the trainer reckoned I could be a programmer to which I basically thought fuck that - I couldn’t have imagined anything more boring at that time - and anyway I had it in my head I wanted to be a hairdresser and eventually I got the opportunity to train for that (only gave that up after about 4 months when my inability to take orders kicked in again). After a couple years of working in pubs and factories at 19 I decided to go back to my high school whilst I was working nights, and study for my h’grades. Ended up I did really well and was persuaded to apply for uni - which I did and ended up studying Social Anthropology and Sociology. Managed to fuck that up too being a complete hash head then falling pregnant to …well that’s another story:) After a while I got my head together and decided I had to make a living to support my daughter and did a post grad in IT - I did really well and walked into a job on a shit hot recommendation from the uni. However, I feel I have never got anywhere with it. I have moved about on projects and technologies constantly have never spent more that 6 months in a single language or environment and basically feel at the same level as what I was when I started.

This industry has been crazy though for the effect it has had on my self-confidence. The one thing I never doubted was my ability to learn as I had always excelled academically - or at least when I put my mind to it. There is so much to learn in this game though and to be honest I’m probably not that interested in learning it. I force myself to and have been very proactive in my learning but honestly I’m not that into it - I can’t focus my attention on it. I like building software - I like that a lot - but having to read technical stuff I struggle.

Anyway I’m now coming close to throwing in the towel. The thing is I can be a pretty determined fucker so is likely that I try and put my head down and try to fill the gaps - I’m afraid though that will just lead to more wasted years with not much to show at the end of it.

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Hello! We have a few things in common: I’ve also struggled with authority (and tried, unsuccessfully, to stay out of such work situations my whole life) and I’m also someone whose first choice of career was not technology, although I do like many aspects of the work. Some things to consider:

From your post, I’m guessing you are in your mid-20s. That’s young. Even if you have a natural aptitude for it, it takes a long time to get good at development. You’re right, it IS a tough game, and the industry has insanely unrealistic expectations too. But having said that, if you live somewhere with a lot of companies, keep looking, you could find something right for you.

There are other jobs in technology besides software developer. If you generally like development, but you dislike the nitty-gritty technical stuff, look for other roles: you could be an analyst, or a project manager (in which case YOU would be the authority figure!), or do QA. Your technical experience would certainly be a huge asset in those jobs.

You’re young enough that you can make the switch to other kinds of work without looking bad. But the reality is that non-tech jobs are disappearing, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, especially since you have a child. (I’m close to 40 and trying to figure out what other options are available to me, and it’s scary.)

Hope that helps. Best of luck to you!!

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