Every developer has felt stuck at one moment or another. Sometimes we feel left behind by others. I believe this is due to how quickly things are changing in the tech industry. Rather than fear change, we should embrace it. Over the years I've learned how to turn the feeling of being stuck into a growing opportunity. Here is how:
The biggest mistake I've ever done is to label myself as a
You don't necessarily have to learn another language. Maybe you are a Java programmer with Java EE experience. You can work through the feeling of being stuck by learning something new within your ecosystem. Maybe you learn a new unit testing framework. Or start listening to podcasts about Java. Anything that will provide a new and different perspective will do. The feeling of being stuck comes from doing the same thing over and over. We need to vary what we do in order to challenge ourselves and grow. The feeling of being stuck is simply the feeling of halted growth.
The biggest benefit I get from using social media and web forums is that I can share with other developers and learn from that they are doing. One great example is Hacker News. I enjoy participating in that community because there is a wide array of opinions and experiences. You might be talking with somebody about a specific technology and the person who built it shows up and joins the conversation. Being able to interact in such fashion is a powerful learning tool. Having conversations with smarter people is a great way to remove the feeling of being stuck. Make sure that your approach here is about listening and learning. Otherwise, you will not benefit as much.
I use to loathe sharing my code. I hated it. I knew that people would judge me for it. I'm very insecure about my coding abilities because I wish I was better. Being afraid of what other people might say led me to hide away in a corner. Truth is that everyone sucks at coding. We all do. The best programmers have that one piece of code that will always hunt them. Successful programmers learn that you can only succeed by failing. Good coding skills are the result of bad coding skills being improved over time. Fear of failure makes us feel stuck because we simply close our minds and let our insecurities take over. Rather than let the fear slow us down, we should embrace the fact that learning is a process filled with mistakes. Progress is only achieved when enough learning is accomplished. You must first fail in order to succeed.
I'm afraid to admit that learning this took me longer than I'd like to accept. You have to be patient with yourself. Pushing too hard is not good. There is definitely a possibility of self inflicted burn out. I don't want you to go through that.
I really do hope this helps you move forward. Feeling stuck is not fun and can be frustrating. I believe you can move forward and overcome this feeling if you are willing to give the things I outlined a try. They might not work for you, but you will gain something important: Accepting that you feel stuck is the first step towards getting yourself out of that place.
PS. Follow me on Twitter and Snapchat @pryelluw
As software gets more and more integrated into our lives, the industrialization of its crafting process becomes inevitable. But the over-generalization of software engineering can be crushing the creative side of programming.