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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!

 

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

 

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.

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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.)

 

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

 

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

 

I would love to contribute to this. I'm a junior and I believe a beginner friendly open source project like this can really help my learning

@vague369 Awesome! We're starting on the game in June, so stay tuned. More info about contributing is here: mousepawmedia.com/developers

Hi! Could I contribute too? I am a developer but I know nothing about Python or game development. I've always wanted to start contributing to open source.

@mia01 You'd certainly be welcome! More information is here

In the meantime, between now and June 1st, may I recommend you familiarize yourself with the basics of Python? There are a number of very good tutorials. One possible place to start would be my own Dead Simple Python article series.

 

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.

 

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**

 

it seems like people brow-beat you until you give up.

Very well put!

 

I agree. As a rule of thumb, Open Source projects give 0 * 0 = 0 damns about newcomers. Mostly they seem to be started by capable developers who assume that more interested, capable developers will come along and "just submit a pull request". It's funny how these grown men behave like children -- there care cases one person works on something super-ambitious (like, removing the GIL from Python or something of that level) for two years, only to have the pull request rejected! I mean, come on! Just starting a thread about what you're thinking of building would have saved so much time and frustration. All in all, at least from a distance, most projects are for (male?) ego messaging.

Equally sadly, projects that are really beginner-friendly seem to be so not worth it. I mean, contribute to a collection of lists of libraries? Sorry, but that's so not my cup of tea.

I do have very fond memories of projects that were run very smoothly, and I also had a very pleasant experience working with Jason here:

codemouse92 image

Other than these, sadly, I too think that people don't know or don't want to know how to encourage participation. :(

 

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

 

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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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.

 

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.

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. 😁😁😁

 

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# asp.net 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.

 

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

 

You know how the old saying goes, falling in love is easy, staying in love is a choice.

Horrible bosses, mismanaged companies, burnout, I've experienced all of it over the years. And there certainly were periods where I considered a career change. But honestly, there are really not many things that I like more than programming. On top of that, I turned my hobby into a profession, which is also well-paid and affords one a huge degree of freedom, so complaining too much almost seems cynical.

 

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 ❤️.

 

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. 😅)

 

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!

 

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!

 

I can think of a couple of times when I've questioned whether I'm in the right occupation.

I think it's largely situational and depends a lot on who you're surrounded by and what's going on in your life.

As for fixing it, you've got to be honest with yourself about what's causing the issue. Programming itself is rarely the problem, not if you've been doing it for years.

It's more likely to be a toxic work environment or situation outside of work that is playing on your mind. You can monkey patch the problem to try and get through but ultimately you need to tackle it, and that's difficult when you're not feeling on it 100%.

If I'm feeling unmotivated, which is different to feeling like I want a total change, doing some work on a side project often helps. In this case, I choose something entirely of my own creation so that I can have total control over the decisions. I find that enough of a break from reality where my work is a lot more collaborative.

 

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 :)

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Probably not in that way. For me, development is itself a major layer of abstraction between what we want doing and have to do. Achieving outcomes may not even be possible. What we see is a lag between conception and adoption.
What has been interesting is that by working on my own stuff over the last year and a bit, my ability in building applications has never been better. This doesn't make me want to go out and showcase these skills on the job market, but instead to connect with other developers to build solutions.
Guessing it is like building dev.to, only you guys know how good or bad the code is, but if you could click your fingers and have the same product you probably would.

 

12 years of web. Was just ticking along. Last project was hell. Worked every weekend for 6 months. Finally had burn out and thankfully project was cancelled. took 6 months off. Got bored bought a mac. Tried iOS app programming. Found I loved thinking up apps and then had to build them properly to compete and also deal with graphics and marketing. It was 2010 new apps could make it to the top. Not now.
Made some money but mostly renewed my love for creating things.
iOS indie devs stopped making money. Went off to make apps for other people.
Though now im bored again with apps ..waiting for Apple AR :) studying Unity.

 

Not had a really long career just yet, but had my fair share of 'burnout'. I find picking up a completely new framework, methodology or pattern works to rekindle my love for coding.

Knee deep in some advanced domain driven design concepts at the moment and I can feel myself revving up to get back into projects.

Step back to step forwards :-)

 

I worked on my own startup full-time. When things just weren't working out I pushed through because I didn't want to give up on my co-founders. This caused a lot of burnout. I just wasn't excited about what I was doing anymore. Coding became a stressful activity. Since I've joined another, later stage, startup with a much better work/life balance I've been coding my own stuff outside work for fun. For me it really seems like a good indicator going forward. If I'm not enjoying coding at work or for fun at home, I probably need to change things up.

 

TLDR; Doing the same thing day in day out can be mundane in any field - I think its challenges that engages our interest.

For me its always been about improving my craft and learning something new. This doesn't necessarily mean a new stack or codebase but new challenges in your project.

I like to know the ins and outs of a codebase what holds it together down to the framework and that usually doesn't come over night.

I started as a Java developer and about 4 years in when I did start to lose some of my Java enthusiasm I looked into becoming full stack and picked up Angular - this kept my interest in coding and consequently helped me really hone into my craft in Java 2 years later.

 

I started coding on my own because I had ideas for applications and sites. Even though I made money from it, I didn't get a job doing it until I had been coding about 8 years already. I kind of lost my spark when my side business went to shit and all I had was the day job. But I have recently got back into building my own things on the side and that has helped.

 

Yes.

Been doing this professionally since '95. Things really sucked by about about '99. VB6 was limited and Java was just an awful language to have to learn. I started looking into switching to be an auto mechanic or learn C/C++.

Then .Net was released in 2001 and that was a breath of fresh air... until about 2010, when I was just feeling so done with Windows/Microsoft specific development. The problem is switching to almost any other career by this point is a huge pay cut.

Moved fully to web-stack with Microsoft's release of Web API in about 2014, started diving into JavaScript properly.

Programming feels like the wild-west right now. There are so many options, so many choices. It is refreshing.

 

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.

 

I've been programming for 25+ years. I've only lost my spark during my professional career due to job (non-programming) related things.

But that spark ignited really quick again while reading good books about programming. Or during meetups with other developers from other companies. And in some cases reading an interesting article online.

 

I never lose the spark in things I'm working on, but I lose the faith in humanity.

 

I thing my case it's a little too extreme. I've been working as a developer for 10+ years, and I lost the spark at the very beggining. I recovered my love for coding in late 2019.

I remember, before finishing my studies, to do small jobs as a web developer (terrible websites TBH, you know, Frontpage vs Dreamweaver times, static sites, flash animations...). I was happy, because I was doing something that I enjoyed so much, that involved coding and design.

I ended my studies, and few months later, I got a call from a company. My first interview, and I'll never forget what the interviewer said to me:

  • "Do you know C ?"
  • "Yes"
  • "Do you know Java?"
  • "Yes"
  • "Well, we want you to work in something that has nothing to do with anything you've ever studied".

I was entering in the Cobol and PacBase Dungeon. And I've stayed there since.

You can think that, wow, developing and mantaining Cobol applications, I must earn a lot of money, or be considered someone special. The truth is that, here in Spain, we are too many, so we are treated like any other developer, but worse (in my opinion).

Why worse? I have to deal everyday with an old, really old technology that I had to learn by myself reading old manuals that surely were older than me at that time. Everything is too tedious, from testing and debugging code to manage DB2, implementing the new software...

Why did it take so long to regain my interest in programming?

When I got home, the last thing I wanted was to code, but everything changed one day. Needing to get out of the routine, improve my expectations for the future and catch up, taking advantage of the fact that I had to get to work an hour early to be able to park my car, I decided to take advantage of that time to carry out an online web development bootcamp.

I'm still in the same company, doing the same job, but I've noticed the spark again, the same I felt for the first time as a child programming a Q&A basic game with a Commodore 64.

I've started to follow developers on Instagram, I have signed up for more courses, on different topics such as ethical hacking or Linux management, and I have discovered wonderful websites like this, full of information. Now I can say that coding is my main interest in life, just behind family of course!

 

Losing spark is not about coding itself, but about its meaning.
Give it a purpose - and other things will be rekindled automatically.

 
 

It'll occasionally rekindle every couple of months, for a few minutes.

But only when I see the light in the eyes of the users, especially when I am that user.

 

Never lost my love for coding. Only lost my way for a while thinking I needed to stop coding. I was wrong and went back. Better to do what you enjoy when you are lucky enough to have that choice.

 

When I was working on bad code that I wrote myself, I got burned out. Learning to refactor helped me to fix that.

 
 
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A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.