I love programming. I love writing code and have loved it ever since I got my first taste of it in college. So of course, I decided to pursue a career in it. But I cannot stand the industry and the attitudes of other developers. In this industry, your value is explicitly tied to your skillset and your job title. It creates a living hell for me.
I have struggled with depression my entire life. When I first discovered programming, I immediately fell in love: “This is what I want to do with my life!”. And what’s more, it is the one thing that I’m good at. So of course it is the career path I went down. But after graduating, I’ve found that despite the fact that I graduated from a prestigious university with a 4.0, employers and other professionals just don’t care. “Okay, but do you know Spring?” “Can you solve this problem in less than 15 minutes?”
I spend my days working my job, being one of the most productive members on my team, but I’m labelled a “Junior Developer” because I don’t have Spring or Docker on my resume, and I’m not allowed to work on our projects using those things because I don’t already know them. I am excluded from conversations and perpetually stuck at the kid’s table because of my job title. I am given only the busy work to do, but any actual work that might help develop my skillset is given to the ones who already have those skills.
So, I spend my nights studying this technology or that technology, Docker, Spring, Angular, Kubernetes, because clearly it’s never enough. But it’s not good enough - my skillset is never enough, and my job title has doomed me to being viewed as the “inexperienced moron” at work.
You may say that this is just my workplace- but it’s not true. Anywhere I apply looks solely at the key terms listed on my resume - do you have x, y, and z? And if you do, can you write some code that solves some problem with perfect efficiency and no errors in 15 minutes or less? Oh, you didn’t remember if the size of arrays was array.length or array.size? Sorry, but you’re not the right fit for us.
And its not just employers. Every developer I have talked to judges others by the lens of how big your skillset is, or what’s your job title, or how much you know about binary trees. If I mention my job title or lack of experience, it is always clear that the structure of the conversation changes and the person I am speaking to stops viewing me as their equal and starts viewing me as some moron who is deserving of their pity. I am terrified to engage any other developer in conversation because I am certain that I will say something stupid, or factually incorrect, thereby exposing myself as the fraud that I am and thus demonstrating that I am unworthy of any kind of respect.
All of this combines to mean that I can’t stand working in this industry. Every single day I am reminded of how incompetent or worthless I am It makes me want to die. I love programming, but I hate being a developer. This industry is toxic and it is set up at every turn to pass judgement on you and tell you how much you suck. Unfortunately it’s the only thing I’m good at, so I have no choice but to stick with it, and go home every night reflecting on how worthless I am.
Thanks for giving me a place to let out my thoughts, OSMI.