Advice, Software Engineer

The Telltale Signs When Software Developers Are Ready for a Change

Are you a software developer who’s getting really comfortable in your current job? Have you been at the same company or in the same role for the past few years, working on the same codebase and solving problems you’re too familiar with, over and over again? Do you feel bored and uninspired lately? Have you tried to get out of your coding rut unsuccessfully?

If so, this may be a sign you’re ready for a change.

Change is hard for anyone. It’s our human nature that we dislike change. We like to be comfortable and thrive in knowns. But the thing is that when we step out of our comfort zone and really embrace change in our career, we learn and grow so much more and we experience joy in our work. There is also other tangible benefits that come with it as well, such as a higher pay, a bigger network, and an increased skill set.
So let’s take a look at the telltale signs you’re ready for a change.

1. You Don’t Feel Enthusiastic About New Projects or Initiatives

You say you’re bored at work because there are no new or interesting projects happening. But when you hear about a new project or an initiative, you’re surprised you don’t feel enthusiastic or get the same excitement you used to get. Or worse, you think that project or initiative is going to be a waste of time even before it has a chance to start.

You have seen it and done it all. You can’t see how this new project or initiative is any different from the last one.

2. You Think Your Job Isn’t Adding Value to Your Life

Apart from your paycheck, you don’t think your job adds any value to your life. Your job is too easy for you, and you can do it with an eye closed. And you start thinking, there must be better ways to spend at least eight hours a day somewhere else, doing something more interesting.

Everything you do is so mundane. You’re not learning. You’re not growing. You don’t know why you’re still here. Well, except for that paycheck, of course.

3. You Start Taking More Time Off Than Usual Because You’re Bored at Work

Coming into work is such a chore because you don’t feel engaged in what you do. There’s no shortage of stuff to do, but you have been doing the same things over and over for so long that the tasks you do have become so dull.

Sometimes, it gets so boring and unchallenging that you’d rather be home sick, literally, than come to work.

4. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Learned Something New at Work

Part of the reason why you’re so bored at work is because there’s no room for any learning or personal development.

You feel like you’ve been stuck at the same place with the same knowledge for the past few years. You really can’t remember the last time you learnt something new at work. And you miss that feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction you get when you’re learning and growing yourself and your skills.

5. You Stop Being Thorough With Your Code Reviews

You understand the importance of code reviews, and you’ve always been thorough with them. Not only do you review code, you also take time to understand requirements, check edge cases, run user scenarios, and be a really good code reviewer for your peers.

However, you haven’t been like that lately. Maybe you don’t care anymore? Or maybe you feel that your effort is going to waste? Whatever your reason may be, you just know in your heart you could put in more effort with code reviews — the way you used to.

6. You Aren’t Excited About Seeing Your Work Live in Production

As a software developer, there was nothing more satisfying to you than seeing your work live in production.
You used to tell your friends or family members proudly about your work as it was in production. You used to get a sense of pride in seeing your work in production and having it out in the wild. Sadly, that’s no more.

7. Your Defect Rate Increases, and Your Productivity Decreases

You start noticing you have been fixing a lot more bugs than usual, and, unfortunately, they were generated from the tasks or features you worked on. Some bugs are silly little mistakes that should have been caught earlier in your development process, and you wonder why you didn’t pick them up earlier.
Because fixing production bugs requires you to be switching back and forth between tasks and codebases, your productivity starts to be impacted as well.

8. You Stop Pushing Back — Even When You Don’t Agree With Technical Designs

You used to be very passionate about elegant technical designs and how you could keep technical architecture simple yet super efficient.

When you saw a less-than-ideal technical design, you immediately pushed back on it, questioned the reasons behind the decision — and even worked extra hours collaborating with others so the technical design was as good as it could possibly be. It didn’t matter if customers weren’t going to see it and if it was all hidden under the hook.

But these days, you find yourself agreeing to technical designs — even when you don’t agree with them 100%. Less argument, less talking, less time spent at work, right?

Magic Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone

Being comfortable is good, but being too comfortable for too long isn’t.

Why? Because we only learn and grow when we’re challenged. When we’re comfortable, it means we’re not being challenged.

As a software developer, your job should require you to be constantly learning and be constantly challenged with problems you haven’t experienced before. If you’re solving the same problems every day, there is something fundamentally wrong — you haven’t learned from previous problems, and you keep making the same mistakes.

Take this for an example: In a web app you created a few months ago, there was a cross-site scripting (XSS) problem because you didn’t sanitize user input before saving it into the database.

If you have the same XSS problem in your new web appyou created last week, then that’s not a good thing. While it’s easier, quicker, and more comfortable for you to fix the problem the second time around, you probably aren’t taking pride in your work. Because you know, deep down, you shouldn’t have made the same mistake, and you didn’t learn anything new the second time around.

If you’re like most developers whose job satisfaction comes through learning and being challenged, you have to take this matter into your own hands. You are probably not going to be let go because you’re still doing a good job — it’s just the work you do is not good enough for you.

You have to get out of your comfort zone and do something about being comfortable. You want to do something that’ll make you feel uncomfortable at first. Whether it’s taking on additional responsibilities, going for a promotion, finding a new job elsewhere, or going out on your own, something must be done so you can experience magic and feel fulfilled in your work again.

And, hey, if the change doesn’t work out, you get to learn from your experience and try something different again.

Career Guide for Software Developers