Developer growth, Practice Empathy

Rituals of Shaming in the Software Industry

The career of being a software developer can be a bumpy one. From the very start you are challenged by technical challenges you have no idea how to solve. Some grasp the concepts and principles easily, while others struggle. It’s an uphill climb of continuous learning. Constant failure, and success just a semi-colon away.

One of the biggest challenges during this process isn’t technical, but rather social. Around each turn you uncover new wonders, and new challenges. When you start a new job or position, publish a blog post, submit a pull request or even make a product. There will be people lined up to tell you how wrong you are and as a result; how you’re not good enough. I’m here to tell you, that you are!

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Valuable Resources

A special thanks to Jose Gonzalez for tipping me on this weeks Valuable Resource.

Mattias P Johansson, probably more well-known as @mpjme, is a YouTube’r with a focus on JavaScript and other programming-related topics. His YouTube channel “fun fun function” is packed with great videos. He has a wonderful presentation style has a knack for breaking down complex subjects into bite-size, understandable chunks. I highly recommend his videos. Subscribe and enjoy!

The video in question is #43 in the funfunfunction series and addresses a very important subject: “Does a developer need to be nice?”. I’ve written a summary of the video, and added a few of my thoughts a the end.

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Valuable Resources

Andrea Goulet recently held the keynote “Communication is just as important as code” at DotNetFringe 2016. I’ve been looking forward to this recording ever since I read about it on the Corgibytes blog. Andrea is also the creator of the Empathy-Driven-Development blog and has a podcast at legacycode.rocks.

I’ve written my summary of the talk and added some of my personal thoughts at the end. For a full transcript, read the Corgibytes-blogpost.

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Developer growth

Who defines your success?
Working in the software industry as a developer is a real joy. We are paid to create or contribute to solutions that solve the needs of real users. Alright, some needs are forced, but our solutions usually end up covering a need and delivering some form of value.
Why then the stories of decision fatigue, burnout,  dreams of silicon valley money, conflict and hate in communities, and other success / failure stories? Why aren’t we content with the value we deliver?

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Developer growth

There is no time for empathy
After my post on empathy as an essential skill, a commenter said that the most successful developers don’t need empathy, referring to John Carmack & Linus Torvalds. Not sure about John Carmack, but Linus certainly has had a brush or two with his lack of empathy when communicating with people. There is nothing to suggest that he lacks empathy, just that he on occasions doesn’t utilize it to its fullest. But this isn’t about how a man in the open-source community goes about his business…

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Developer growth

My personal burnout – Lessons learned

Last week I was on the My Life For The Code podcast and had a really good talk with Shawn Rakowski (He has a fantastic blog and podcast, check them out!). During our talk we touched upon where and how this blog got started and the reasoning on the focus on empathy. I answered as best I could and the topic of my burnout came up. I speak about my burnout quite a bit since it really has been a defining moment in my (recent) life. It’s also an opportunity to follow up Jose Gonzalezrequest for an update on where I am now.

With this blog post I’d like to close this chapter of my life, but at the same time have a reference for my future self. I’ve also attempted to summarize some of my learnings and insights so as to better help others to avoid getting into this place, or maybe to help them out? Maybe even help myself.

Note: this post contains personal information that may or may not be relevant to you. I feel this gives a certain context to this very personal topic. Continue Reading