Developer growth

The importance of time off

Burnout is a difficult topic that people experience in varying degrees throughout their professional and personal lives. Demands from our modern societies take their toll through ever-growing expectations from others, ourselves and what we believe others expect from us. There is a great deal of focus on how we can do more, but not on how to do less. Which is why I was positively surprised about a recent article from HBR which promoted the value of down-time.

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Developer growth, Practice Empathy

You suck at listening!

Just from reading from the title, you may have already¬†made up your mind about what this article is all about (and you’re probably right). I’d also wager that if I’d said this directly to¬†you, you’d be ready with a response just as I was uttering the last word. But do you really know what I mean? Why did I use those words? The need I’m trying to express? Which assumptions do you have when interpreting my words that lead to the immediate response or feeling you have now? The thing is, you suck at listening, and I do too.

Developers often find themselves in situations where we need to make decisions, weigh in our opinions and persuade others of our views. We often fail miserably by oversimplifying, jumping to conclusions or arguing.¬†Our responses and thoughts are based on our¬†experiences and assumptions. Which is great since it reduces the cognitive overhead of actually listening to each spoken word. Communication isn’t easy,¬†but¬†we can improve drastically by talking less and listening more. Continue Reading

Developer growth, Practice Empathy

Compiling words to Assumptions

Our internal compiler

Most developers can master the skill of listening to spoken words quite well. It’s easy to grasp words, run them through the compiler in our mind and spit out instructions. The compiler is based on sub-routines created through our life experiences, ready to give an output based on any input. These sub-routines remove the cognitive burden of weighing and considering each and every spoken word.

We spend our careers learning  how to understand communication with compilers, yet struggle to effectively communicate with the people around us. Can we shift our built-in compiler to interpret words and actions in a way that opens us up to more empathic communication? Continue Reading

Developer growth

Empathy: an essential skill in Software Development

Being a software developer is a tricky business. There are low’s and high’s lurking around every corner: Could this class be well-written, tested and a joy to work with or am I going to find regions of pain? Will the product demo be horrid and tedious or a joy for the stakeholders? Heated discussions, disagreements or blissful communication? Kind words or brutally honest feedback?

How can we keep up in this emotional roller coaster, while at the same time keeping up with the technology and our work?¬†Could¬†empathy be the secret ingredient in the awesomesauce of software development? This may very well be the case… Continue Reading

Developer growth

The Proactive Software Developer
I recently wrote about lessons I’ve learned from my personal burnout, and touched on the topic of being proactive and how this is helping me move forward. My¬†attitude towards being proactive is greatly¬†inspired by Steven Covey’s first habit: “Be Proactive”. I want to explore what’s involved in having a proactive mindset as a software developer and why I believe it’s something every developer should strive for.

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Developer growth

The mindful developer

Stress and fatigue are things we developers struggle with most of our careers in varying levels. There is the focus on keeping up-to-date on technologies, delivering at work, maintaining proper work / life balance – whatever that means, and countless factors that contribute to creating noise. How can we deal with the noise? Well, I’d like to explore the approach¬†of being a mindful developer. What it means to me, and why it’s something you might want to consider looking in to. Continue Reading