Mid-Level Developer and Going Backwords

I have been a professional software engineer(back-end engineer), whatever fancy title you want to give it) for 3+ years now. I have noticed when applying to places and recruiters are considering me mid-level and some even senior given that early in my career I did do a lot of management, but most say early mid-level. I have been to a few interview lately and have really messed up on the technical interview, they are very basic not algorithms or anything just basic sql and programming questions. Honestly, these where questions I feel, I was able to answer a year and half ago, but for some reason, I draw blanks now. I getting stressed out a lot, my coding ability is getting worse and feels to be rotting away. I want to say I lost passion for programming and software development, but I am not sure. This past year, I was mentoring/working with someone who I am now able to learn from and he actually got an offer from a nice silicon valley company with a nice pay and perks, and he personally thanked me for it.

Work History
Here is a run down of the events that happened to me during the last few years to give perspective: College I was diagnosed with epilepsy(no history in family or brain injury), I believe it was over stressing myself. 1 year after graduation my mother passed away, but I got a promotion at work at the same time(6 months at place). I started getting imposter syndrome like feelings when on boarding new hires, my self-esteem was always up and down, but the new team really challenged it. I tired to get better, but I felt like I couldn’t keep up. I had shoulder surgery(right) out of work for 3 months(starting a new application put me behind a lot). After that I really left out of place at work, also did not bond well, then 2nd surgery, when I got back I was laid off. I got a job right after with someone who wanted to hire me while I was working at the first place, that was good for the first few months, I got a raise in the first month, putting a project back on track. There codebase was so back, and the culture was really bad, I stopped really coding, but I learned a bit of Mongo, there would be a month where I didn’t code. It got so bad over there I really lost passion. I was laid-off due to a move, at the same time I was doing consulting at the place I was mentoring.

My question is I am not really sure what to do and does anyone have any recommendations or tips? I feel my skills are not up to par and regressing. I am having a harder time concentrating now than ever before. I still have a passion for engineering, but it is harder, the places and people I have been around really kills my self-esteem, my self-worth that I question everything I do.

Your skills are probably fine. I’d bet that your sense of regression is at least partially imaginary. If you were proficient at playing a musical instrument, but didn’t practice for several years, you would probably be able to attain the same level of skill that you previously had in a fraction of the time.

As for suggestions on what to do, sorry, this forum is for posting problems and meaningless pats on the back, not actual solutions, as far as I can tell. Good luck!

Sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I know this is easier for some than others but have you tried taking some time to think about the type of position that would really make you feel happy? I’m currently in a position I’m unhappy with and it’s really only because I settled just because I was afraid to wait for a better position.

For me, if I’m in a tough situation, but I have a goal or roadmap to get out of the situation it makes it alot easier to deal with. In terms of my career this means that while I don’t like my current job (actully 2 jobs) I have thought about the job that I want and the specific steps I need to take to get to that job. So when I have a rough day it is very comforting to think of the goal of achieving something better. And because I’ve thought about the steps to get their the goals feels attainable, rather than just a pipe dream.

I know this isn’t easy for everyone. I happen to be prone to obsessive behavior so it’s easy for me to dwell on a goal like this until I get to a plan. But I’ve also found that the more I take this approach the better I get at it. We’re problem solvers by nature. Why not use that awesome skills to solve the problems that matter most, like reducing stress and achieving personal happiness.

I’m still probably a ways off from achieving my dream job. I’m also currently in a wheelchair so I understand why you may be feeling down after 2 surgeries. But every day I can usually find some step that gets me closer to my goal so I focus on that and enjoy a win for the day. And some days I just need to step away for the day. I don’t code, I don’t design, I just try to enjoy something in life regardless of my career. Give it a try and let me know if it helps. I’m curious to know if others deal with things in the same way I do.


Whatever you do don’t give up and don’t let the stress ruin your life. Share your thoughts and feelings with supportive family and friends and let them help you work out the solution. Use a whiteboard and approach it like you’re working through and engineering problem. You are a problem solver. I’m sure you’ll figure out an elegant solution.

Thanks for the advice and outlook, I never though to look at it as an engineering problem, I always looked it as a psychology one. I will try looking at it that way and see how it goes :slight_smile: haha.