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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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Longtime devs: Have you rekindled your love of coding after losing the spark at any point in your career?

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Jason C. McDonald

I only start losing my love of coding when I start getting burned out and codeblind on one project. The cure is usually to take a break and pick up something completely different!

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Rose Day

Codeblind - that is an interesting term, never heard that one before. 😄

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I can't remember where I picked it up, but it's a term for that phenomenon when you've been working on the same code for so long, you can no longer see the obvious.

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

That's a really good term for it. I'm going to remember it.

It goes well with this quote

"One of the best programming skills you can have is knowing when to walk away for awhile." - Oscar Godson

Walk away to prevent/cure codeblindness.

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Sabin Pandelovitch • Edited

A good solution for me in this case is to go and answer some SO questions, the advantage is that it's not time consuming but effective and I'm not losing focus

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Harsh D

I just refer to it as coders block

_hs_ profile image
HS • Edited

Is 7 years + 3 year uni + about 5 year hobi before that long? Or just long in business?

Anyways no hope for me, since I stared working I rebounded one time in 2 year development and downhills since then. Mainly bosses expetacion vs what they can offer of knowledge for you and what they pay. Anyways latest thing to kill it for good I think was trying to contribute one tiny thing to OSS which backfierd as I mentioned that I can't figure out things from docs and I think it should be less confusing for newcomers. One guy freaked out attacking me basically telling me between lines "you don't contribute stfu" because apparently knowing project exists for 3 months means you gotta learn new language fix bugs and post new features. And here I was thinking posting couple of blogs can be some small effort that shows I'm not a parasite just don't know Go or probably not even good enough if it was other language

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

I'm so sorry you've had that negative experience! People can be cruel.

If you're willing to give it one more shot, my open source software company is focusing on building a game in June. It'll be in Python, which I've written extensively about if you're unfamiliar or want to brush up. We aim to make MousePaw Media a very supportive (and fun!) environment throughout, from code review to tasks to discussions. I'm sure there will be lots of little, simple tasks to do, and we always welcome new contributors! We don't expect you to be a Wiz at Python; several members of the team will be newbies in that language too.

So, if you're down for giving coding one more chance, allow me to extend that opportunity to you. If it can inspire you to rediscover something you loved, I'd be honored.

(Message me if you have questions.)

_hs_ profile image

Thanks, I'm not giving up on coding as it's my only source of income. I just didn't have good enough experience in companies and ended up jack of all trades master of none. The thing about last OSS project is I need it for work so I choose them and tried to be a part of something I can use. However I'll check out your project if I manage to hold current one on daily job not to fail miserably as I somehow ended up being architect plus back dev plus devops. Might be temporarily exhaustion so I might get the thrill back again and learn python

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Patrick Tingen

I just love the community here at

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_hs_ profile image

As you said. I keep getting notifications that someone wants to contribute to this. Amazing

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Kasey Speakman

I've had a similar experience in open source projects a couple of times. It's actually much easier when the maintainer just says No. But in those bad cases, it seems like people brow-beat you until you give up. All so unnecessary and draining.

_hs_ profile image

Yeah, gotta say my comment spiked defence mechanism because I said "unclear and confusing" which it apparently is to most newcomers that had no idea about those kind of patterns or have low skills for such specific job. Problem was I was just a user of a project that just submitted one single PR which was example that was mean to be commented enough for people like me seeking help on how to USE it. Not to contribute to it. I even told others about the project like it was a super great thing but those things are not PR. And some of the "others" were potential clients of our company which could have their developers push in PRs so my company could use it on that project to help them integrate with us - a win win win situation, also one company that I though would be good as someone we pay to maintain our infrastructure for messaging things and that company had already open source stuff which means they would contribute to project to keep their clients (like us) happy.

Anyways I don't blame the guy too much I just think he lashed out on the wrong person because I don't think I was insulting anyone nor complaining too much. However he might not realised that his actions told me "no one is welcome to ask anything nor provide any kind of feedback if they didn't do enough fro the project" - so my reaction is fine I'll try to find something else and have our providers support that project.

Goes a long way to think about what's actually written and what you think is written. He thinks I said "documentation is shit" because it was too much to take for him. I just said unclear and confusing which I wish someone will fix.

But hey things happen. I'm disappointed more because I was part of stackoverflow before they became ego maniacs hitting minuses just for fun, then my bosses were not so into sharing knowledge as into you should learn yourself while off-work, and such. I mean being as*ole doesn't make you Linus, just an a**

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Stephen Belovarich • Edited

Many times over. After twenty years I keep the flame alive by diving into spec, learning how things work, building something interesting or useful with the latest features coming to browsers. Maybe there is some part of ECMAScript I haven't looked at yet, so I go for it.

I rarely feel overloaded because I’ve learned to pace myself. When I’m blocked, I take a walk, go to the gym, or have coffee with my colleagues. In other words, I maintain a healthy work life balance. The time away from code is as important as when I’m coding. The most interesting solutions pop into my head when I’m least expecting. It look me awhile to figure out the grind isn’t worth it.

I’m fairly passionate and that helps but it also hurts because some people misread passion for aggression or naïveté. Miserable people look at me like I have two heads or limit and dismiss things I say despite all the experience and genuine interest in helping others. I just keep on keeping on. The drive is real. I don’t know where it comes from and honestly wish I could teach others how to have it, but think it’s more likely someone learns how to be ambitious, have confidence, and be inquisitive very early in their development.

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László Károlyi • Edited

Same here, but with 25+ years (dick measuring contest on). You pretty much described my experience. Burnouts have to be compensated with free time for other things. We are not machines after all.

What I'd add to it is that there's a difference in doing it for the money on a 'paid time' basis in which case it can get uninteresting really fast, or doing it for the passion; that is the 'exploring, having fun' part.

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Patrick Tingen • Edited

Ha! 27+ years here (measuring contest accepted) and the same experience. I just love programming but often I am working too long on a project. Especially when the end users keep changing their mind and my program ends up like a mess, I am fed up with it. I try to enjoy myself by programming some tooling stuff to clean up the code environments or create fancy features for our in-house framework or - if everything else fails - my own open source project.

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_hs_ profile image

Changing their mind is wat killed it for me lately. Built everything to be role based and then well we should be able to make everything per user. "Isn't that easy to do and worry about later?" Yeah sure. It's multitenang system. Each client had their databases, and of course they need to be abel to access stuff crosstenant because they can work with each other. Have I mentioned I alone was devops, architect and backend? Plus because of corona I will be again in same spot just this time there's also just 1 frontend as even that team suffered. 😁😁😁

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Andrew Reese

I got major burnout mid into my career in 2014. Got a job as a dev, 5-6 mos in the only other dev left so it all fell on me. I was still getting paid like....16 an hour. So I was overworked, underpaid, and way way stressed. I burned out. I lost passion for code. I didn't have confidence in myself of my code to where I struggled to even want to apply for other jobs so I felt stuck.

Thankfully I kept saying something and they finally agreed to bring someone else on. One guy really stuck out to me as a go-getter and thankfully they listened and hired him.

He had the charisma to get the staff talked into a rewrite from c# forms i hated into Ruby on Rails. So I got excited again. He constantly appreciated and cheered on my talent and looked up to me and I to him. It made me pop back. I owe still being a dev to him. He's still a good friend of mine and we still do contract work together when we can, often making them fun hack nights with late night pizza and drinks haha.

It was a low point in my career, followed by one of the best times/memories I have in it that I can use to push past any new things that have came my way. Also taught me the importance of peers and having people to lean on.

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Mike Holloway

I think who you code with makes a significant difference to your happiness and in turn, success.

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Bernard Baker

I've been programming for many years. But I've never lost the spark. Even when I've felt that feeling of not that project again 😭, what needs to changed? A new feature, an edge case bug?

What am I saying that's totally losing the spark ⚡. I think it bares down to loving what you do. Rekindling my love of programming, well it's a beautiful relationship.

Even when I was asked if I wanted to pursue management. Or work in integrations. I stuck with it.

And coding has become so much more fun nowadays with more of a social aspect to it. Less people out there don't know what you're talking about when you saw AWS, HTML, or APP.

So to answer your question. Yes ❤️.

conw_y profile image
Jonathan • Edited

My spark flickered for a brief time in 2017-18 when I partially bought into the false notion that software development was a commodity skill that would quickly be made obsolete by AI.

At that time I dipped my toes in the world of interaction design / service design, which was interesting and enriching in itself, and brought me in contact with some amazing people! I don't regret that brief excursion, but it was only to be an excursion.

I was lured back into software development (UI) in 2019 by some well remunerated work opportunities, which turned out to be very rich and complex problem spaces in their own right. During this time I also was reading many classic books on software design and being mentored by a very competent developer, so my learning was going through the roof!

What's really been sparking my interest lately is re-focussing my learning efforts away from flashy libraries or languages and toward continually improving and sharpening the work I already do day-to-day. My daily process or 'grind' of solving complex problems.

I'm already used to working on large code-bases in large organisations, supporting vast UIs which cater for multiple kinds of users in multiple kinds of ways.

But what's new for me in 2019-20 is observation and reflection. Observing and reflecting on how I (and my colleagues) work through regular day-to-day problems, I capture that learning so I can apply it future problems. Making YouTube videos and blog posts is great too – the ideas become firmer in my mind when I can put them into words. I definitely understand something better when I try to explain it to someone else!

So I'm raising a glass to software development in 2020! 🥃

(Though I'll be wiping it down first with disinfectant. 😅)

ellieh profile image
Ellie Huxtable

Not sure if my career is long enough to weigh in here

I've been programming as a hobby for about 13 years now, in various different ways - professionally for around 2.5 years.

I find that every time it loses the spark for me, it's because of some kind of burnout. I'm lucky enough to never have hit the full force, career-stopping level, but I think that's also because I do my best to regularly take breaks.

I work full time, and also have several side projects. For me, things became more fun again when I removed pressure wherever I could. Before I did this professionally, I'd just code whatever I wanted. No expectation. No profit. Just "fun shit". That is what made me start with software, so sometimes rediscovering that can remind me of where the spark is

As soon as the goal becomes money, completing a sprint, providing business value... Sure, those things are valuable, but sometimes you need reminding of the art and creativity that brought you into the field in the first place :)

So go make something fun, remove pressure, just do whatever you want!

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Claro A Briones

Hi there! 👋 I'm 11+ years in and I can attest to having a few ups and downs along the way. For me the best way to rekindle the spark is to do something new, whether that's taking on a side project, freelancing or contributing to open source. Along with taking a walk outside to clear the mind.

Thanks for reading, good luck and stay safe out there!

_hs_ profile image

Yeah, i do think sometimes it looks childish. In my case I'm don't think it was intentional, just not well, thought through. Some requests and complaints were made before, and no one wants to contribute (in their minds) therefor one too much was that I who couldn't do more took a bit of heat because someone took message the wrong way, assumed confusing meant sh** and there we go. But still really you have to slam someone in the face ASAP with something like: this is hard work it's not easy you parasite so contribute so stfu - of course not directly but this was between lines

yulivee profile image
Sandra Schuhmacher • Edited

I lost my spark for coding while beeing trapped in a toxic work environment. I was coding perl trying to maintain a legacy codebase full of horrible spaghettis. The "senior" dev was pumping out 10.000 LOCs monolith applications no one but him was able to comprehend and openly questioned my ability to code because I had such a hard time maintaining. He also regularly deleted all of my testcases because "test have no value and are a waste of time" and ordered to put all code in a single file, instead of writing modules. Patterns nowhere to be seen. I completly lost interest and love in coding.

How did I get it back? I went back to university for a masters degree and switched to working part time. I made friends with a really awesome person who works as a fullstack-dev. We got to know each other during a project assignment in an AI class and started coding together in our spare time in C#. Coding was fun again and not something that just paid the bills. Together we coded enough that I finally was brave enough to apply for a C# Junior role and leave that friggin Perl codebase behind. Now I am in the finishing year of my master, learning tons of C# in my new role, work on a computer game and home automation with my friend.

Its all about the mentors, friend. A good one can really help you become more than you can imagine yourself. A bad one can kill your career of choice if you are not careful.

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Dmitrii Pashutskii • Edited

I'm coding for only 3+ years but I already had my down spike recently. But it was mostly related to the environment and the mental problems I experienced it passed.

Another thing I'm practicing to avoid burnout is learning. When I learn something completely new I got my spark back.
For example, my main specialization is web dev and I'm doing it for my job. So in my free time, I'm for example learn game development which is a completely new area for me and it excites me a lot.

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Lynne Finnigan

Yes, I have lots of ups and downs. Generally, learning something new, like a new framework or language, helps to rekindle it. But sometimes if I'm too burnt out I just need to wait a bit and eventually it comes back.

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Shivang Chaturvedi • Edited

I completely agree with you! All you need is a good Netflix series on a good weekend.

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Marco Azzurrini

This might come across as weird or even wrong, but it's my honest take on the subject.
I need to preface this saying (writing) that I wouldn't consider myself a longtime Dec, I've been in this world for just over 2 years.
Okay, here's the thing: I didn't start coding because I was passionate about it in the first place.
Generally speaking, I have discarded the notion of "following my passion" years ago, and my life has tremendously benefited from it. I have strategic goals as about my life and career and execute on them, no matter what, if I wake up and don't care about coding, I will still do it, day in day out.
I like to phrase it this way:
I don't follow passion, I follow a strategy. Passion can follow me if it wants too, but I am going either way.

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Cory Tanner

There are always highs and lows, for me those highs and lows are directly related to the amount of imposter syndrome I am feeling. What gets me back into the groove is working on a side project that teaches me something new! I gives me the rush of learning something new, makings something from nothing. Solving puzzles and seeing the result is why I feel in love with web development in the first place :)

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Dog Smile Factory

I've been coding for over 30 years. I retired from one job in 2007, and another in 2017, but I've never been able to permanently retire from writing code. It helps me achieve that wonderful state of flow, where I feel energized, focused, and full of well being, even when I'm tracking down bugs. If boredom ever does set in, it's so easy to find new areas of interest and challenges. People keep inventing better ways of doing things, so there's always something to look forward to.

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