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How Do I Get Back a Passion For Programming?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you've-lost-that-loving-feeling dept.

Businesses 516

bigsexyjoe writes "I am a somewhat experienced software developer who is pretty much an office drone. I used to enjoy writing code. I even enjoyed writing routine code before it became routine. But now I just come in day in and day out. I work for manipulative jerks. I don't care about the product I create. I don't enjoy coding anymore. I'm not great at interviewing. I don't have an impressive resume. I stick in more advanced stuff into my code when I can, but that is always on the sly. So my question is how do I get back the enjoyment I used to have writing code?"

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Sucks to be you! (5, Insightful)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004506)

How about getting out of your comfort zone. Get your resume up to date. Have people review it for readability. Start looking for a new job. You may not enjoy your current employer, but find one that peaks your interest and the joy of coding will return. Also, it helps if the projects have an overall goal in mind that you agree with. For some that may be the Defence industry, others may prefer coding for the Medical industry. Industries that have a meaningful goal will help you to achieve that missing passion.

Re:Sucks to be you! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004550)

first of all. LOOK FOR A NEW JOB!.

Second: Start a project on your own that is fun. (in my case: Make games!).


Good advice .. but check your contract (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004698)

Start a project on your own that is fun.

That is a really great idea.. probably one of the few things will get him to love programming again. He puts more advanced code into projects for his employer for no reason (not a good idea IMO), when all that effort should be put into his own project.

BUT he needs to check his employment contract first. Very common for the employer to say they own everything you create, even if it's not on company time. And if he works for jerks, I wouldn't assume they won't take the project from him when he leaves if it has any value at all.

Re:Sucks to be you! (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004700)


In this economy? Screw that.

Re:Sucks to be you! (1)

logical_failure (2405644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004880)

Computer Science is nearly recession proof. A quick look at / yields plenty of job prospects for a coder.

Re:Sucks to be you! (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004900)

Looking for a new job is free (minus time of course). I actually landed a new job this year about 6 months ago and I had been actively (but not exhaustively) searching since January.

Re:Sucks to be you! (3, Informative)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004974)

Developer unemployment is less than 3%. It's a seller's market for coding skills.

Re:Sucks to be you! (5, Informative)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004976)

Yes, in this economy. Programmers are one of the professions that are almost untouched by the recession.

Re:Sucks to be you! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004998)

Alternate Headline:
Writing code has just lost so much... Significance.

Re:Sucks to be you! (5, Insightful)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004946)

Second: Start a project on your own that is fun. (in my case: Make games!).

This can be a good suggestion. But before that happens, he needs the inspiration to actually go through with it. Wanting to do some programming, but not having a single idea of what to do is an awful feeling.

Re:Sucks to be you! (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004572)

I work for manipulative jerks.

This right here tells me it's not about your passion for coding. It's the fact that you dread going in to work each morning to face the manipulative jerks.

Either go above the heads of the manipulative jerks and report what's making a hostile work environment, or start brushing up your resume, practice interviewing, and start looking for a new job.

Re:Sucks to be you! (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004656)

Either go above the heads of the manipulative jerks and report what's making a hostile work environment, or start brushing up your resume, practice interviewing, and start looking for a new job.

If you're going to do the first one, going over the heads of manipulative jerks, do the second one as well, because chances are the manipulative jerk's superiors are manipulative jerks who are more invested in your manipulative jerk bosses than they are in you.

Re:Sucks to be you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004828)

Yea, favoritism and nepotism run deep in management.

Re:Sucks to be you! (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004894)

Either go above the heads of the manipulative jerks and report what's making a hostile work environment, or start brushing up your resume, practice interviewing, and start looking for a new job.

I'd order that more:

  1. Brush up the resume
  2. Go on some interviews, even though you hate to, you'll get a better feel what's out there
  3. Once you have an offer that is at least a lateral move, go above the jerks heads and see what you can accomplish (hint: there's a reason you have an offer in hand when doing this)
  4. Choose your destiny

Happiness comes from control, that why your bosses are manipulative jerks, they're basically pleasuring themselves at your expense.

Don't discount the possibility of things turning around where you are, it has happened for me in the past.

Re:Sucks to be you! (4, Insightful)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38005000)

Yes, but being dissatisfied at work can take a huge drain on you, to the point where you really don't want to do anything else after you get home, especially not something associated with what you do at work.

Re:Sucks to be you! (4, Insightful)

nepka (2501324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004648)

I enjoy coding greatly. But even before I started working, I saw that coding for work will ruin the fun for me. So I got a job in related industry where I can greatly use my coding experience in my advantage, but isn't really about coding. It's like with game testers - if you test games for living, it will take the fun of playing any games from you. Now I work in other industry, but I'm a really handy guy around (both for others, and for myself) because of my extra ability to code, suggest things about computer security and everything else IT-related. This not only ensures I don't ruin the fun from coding, but makes me more valuable to any company (as per the extra stuff I can do) and I find work generally more interesting.

Don't forget to pique your interest as well (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004692)

but find one that peaks your interest

It seems to me that the original poster has already seen the peak of his interest come and go. That's the problem. The challenge is now two-fold: find something that piques his interest, and once piqued, figure out how to sustain it.

Re:Sucks to be you! (1)

SoothingMist (1517119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38005020)

Q-Hack has hit the nail on the head. Some other thoughts: Sounds like a case of someone who has reached the asymptote of growth in his current job. Yes indeed, get out of your comfort zone. Stop turning the crank. Do something new. Take on new challenges. Write an article for publication. Go to graduate school at night. Dream on. Then plan and implement. If your current company is limiting you, seek out a company that offers opportunity and that appreciates its people. In my own career (35 years and counting) I have always followed the idea that if anyone could do something, I just let them do it. Instead, I look for challenges that scare others. At this point, it is very rare for anyone to ask me to do something I already know how to do. Never never get involved in commodity work using commodity skills. Always aim for the challenge, those things most people can not do.

Passion Isn't Really Externally Acquired or Plied (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004536)

I can't "give" you passion. I'm not Martin Luther King Jr. and this isn't about Human Rights. Passion comes from within and if it's not there, I can't trigger you to release it.

If all it required for passion was to saunter up to a counter and say "One passion, please" then we'd all be theoretical physicists musing over our all night analysis of LHC data whilst having tea with Stephen Hawking right now.

Sorry to be so crass about it but all I can do is tell you what got the ball rolling inside of me to make computers do exactly what I bid them to and how that makes me feel at the end of the day. To tell you to go home and read Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold-Bug [] and then implement a Hidden Markov Model that learns on Bach Chorales in LISP is unlikely to do you any good. Me, on the other hand, that shit turned me from a hay bailing idiot farmhand into a programmer.

Re:Passion Isn't Really Externally Acquired or Pli (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004612)

Programming didn't make you smart. You were obviously never an idiot. And there's nothing wrong with bailing hay. :-)

But you're otherwise 100% correct. Either this stuff floats your boat, or it doesn't.

Quit your job and do something else, even something NOT programming related. Learn something new if you don't have any employable skills. Become a god of Linux system administration. Learn how to deploy Active Directory or Citrix or learn Oracle DBs, or MS SQL, or SOMETHING.

Learn Python. Learn Lisp. Learn Smalltalk. Learn.

If learning doesn't give you any jollies, then maybe try bailing hay.


Antidepressants? (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004538)

That seems to be the typical solution to post-industrial alienation.

Re:Antidepressants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004638)

Well, serotonergenic drugs _do_ fix everything.

Re:Antidepressants? (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38005018)

That makes me fee +1 Sad.

Unemployment brings focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004548)

Try quitting your job and living off of unemployment. That should bring back your passion.

Re:Unemployment brings focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004914)

Or in my case, having to take a minimum wage job to pay bills - especially my student loans - has made me get my desire back. I would love to go back to writing those business apps that did nothing more than be a GUI front end for a database - I was sick of them and the work.

But *sigh* having not coded in a while - couple of years - getting back in is impossible.

Do It Yourself (4, Insightful)

ClayDowling (629804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004560)

The Man is paying you to write this routine code because it's mind numbing, soul-sucking work that nobody would ever do of their free will. If the problem you were solving was fun, there's be an open source project that was solving it.

The solution I had to use was writing my own software to solve problems I found interesting. That also let me test out new techniques and tools that I couldn't do at the day job. After all, there are only so many ways to CReate, Update and Delete records from a monolithic database.

Re:Do It Yourself (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004658)

I dunno man, I see open source projects solving "mind numbing, soul-sucking" problems. I think we know who the future serial-killers are by those who work (in their free time) on projects like Dia or Java EE containers.

Projects (5, Interesting)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004576)

Start your own projects on the side. Or if you don't have any ideas, join an open source project. Unless you're amazingly good at programming you'll probably learn something either way, and, at least for me, that's what makes it fun.

But like anyone else I can only really give you suggestions that would work for me or I know worked for someone else. you have to really discover it again on your own.

Apps (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004584)

I've been having great fun (and make quite a bit of money) writing iOS apps for people. I get all sorts of different projects, and programming for the platform is fun.

Try something new (3)

CruelKnave (1324841) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004588)

Try taking on a personal project, or get involved in an existing open source project that you find interesting.

Get another job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004590)

You don't have to be great at interviewing to get another job.

Re:Get another job (2)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004650)

I don't think I'd like another job. So I'm just not going to go anymore.

Re:Get another job (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004730)

How are you going to pay bills?

Re:Get another job (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004856)

You know. I don't like paying bills, so I don't think I'm going to do that, either.

Re:Get another job (1)

broginator (1955750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004980)

damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Re:Get another job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004654)

Fuck this advice. I have been trying for about a year and a half to get a better job and for as many calls as I get, I should have a fuckton of jobs. But due to me absolutely sucking at interviewing, I am still fucking stuck at this one place. Don't you say that you don't have to be great at interviewing to get another job.

Re:Get another job (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004754)

That's because programmers have no people skills. They are not good at dealing with people. So they have to hire people with people skills to talk to the customer so the software engineers don't have to. What in the hell is wrong with you people?

Obvious solution is obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004596)

Get a new job.

"creative coding" (3, Informative)

Haven (34895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004600)

Do some "creative coding" with p5 in Java ( [] ) or OpenFrameworks in C/C++ ( [] ).

Make some art, it's rewarding.

Code for yourself! (1)

naroom (1560139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004604)

The best way to make coding fun is to do a project of your own. Make a fancy website, or a music or movie playing application, or a simple game. Something you can make progress on within a couple days.

Obliq analogy (1)

trancemission (823050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004614)

Coding can be like riding a bike - you enjoy the experience of learning it but cannot find anywhere to go once you know how to ride it.

But bear in mind it is a big world.....I know that a company out is out there looking for someone like you ;)

Contribute something open source (2)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004616)

I have found contributing to open source to be a great learning experience and also rewarding. I started my own RPC-via-socket library for Actionscript [] and am now working to revive a defunct PHP extension, AMFEXT [] . I could use help if you know some C.

Code for yourself in your spare time (4, Insightful)

DoctorPepper (92269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004618)

I found that programming for a living does tend to take away the passion I used to have for it. To compensate, I tend to code for myself on my off time. I'd like to get into an open source project one of these days, but for now, I just write my own programs and enjoy the process.

You could get into an open source project, see if that might re-kindle your passion for programming. Make sure you check you company policy for code you write after work, you wouldn't want to run afoul of that.

Peter? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004622)

"I'm going to need you to come in tomorrow,. . . AHHHHH! YEAAAAHHHHH! . . . OOOOOOK! Yeah, we, uh, lost a few people so we need to play a little catch-up, ALRIIIIIGHT! Oh, oh, and I almost forgot! I need you to come in on Sunday, as well! YEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH! So, if you could come in over the weekend, that'd be GREEEEAAAAAAT! OK! Thanks, Peter!"

"By the way, did you get that memo we sent out this morning?"

Arduino, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004636)

The biggest problem is not seeing your work as actually useful. Sometimes getting dirty with apps which cause effects in the outside world is useful. Get an arduino or something else where the programing is simple but the interfacing is the point. Get some motors, lights, whatever and make something...or a reprap, Build the killer robot you wanted to make as a kid. Something like that.

Open Source! (1)

alindeman (2504206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004640)

Find an open source project that looks intriguing to you ... start fixing some small bugs or improving the documentation. You'll find the folks who hack on open source are incredibly passionate, and that kind of work is great for your resume.

Same boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004642)

I work on projects where I pretend to be busy for days then crank something out right before it's due. My only motivation is to not get in trouble. I've decided to start developing a product on the side that could give me an out from my job. Take some hobby you like and find any novel way to apply computers or microcontrollers to it. In this job environment it's the only solution I can think of.

Re:Same boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004942)

My only motivation is to not get in trouble. I've decided to start developing a product on the side that could give me an out from my job.

Then make sure that either your employers have no claim on it (i.e. working on it in your own time and make sure that your contract *doesn't* let them claim rights to that).

Or ensure that if they *would* have a claim on it that you keep your mouth shut so they never find that this is the case- and leave no evidence behind. And take care that even after you've left the company there's no evidence that you worked on your product on company time (or during a period when you were employed by the company if they have a claim on stuff you produced after work hours(!)). Otherwise they may try to claim the rights to it.

Note that if your product is the kind of thing that would take a year to develop it and you start selling it a week after leaving the company, then they may figure out that you were still developing it while working for them (duh). So you'll have to account for stuff like that as well.

quit your job (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004660)

Quit your job. You'll find motivation. Maybe not right away, but definitely when money gets tight.

Just don't pass your time with WOW. You'll starve to death.

Change jobs (1)

theswade (2020510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004664)

Find a company whose ideals and environment suit you, and work for them instead. If you don't like your current product, management or tasks, the only way to change that is to work for someone else. Or yourself. Got an idea for a killer Android app?

Network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004666)

I'm horrible at interviewing. So, I make up through it by networking. Meet some people with similar interests. Work on side projects with them. Continue branching out and meeting more people. Eventually, these people will have job connections for you.

Fix your resume by working on interesting side projects on your own. It's not your employers job to flesh out your resume, it's yours.

2 ideas (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004668)

You need to start writing code for you. Think about the code you were most passionate about. It was either code for something you wanted to do, code to learn new code, or to solve interesting logic problems. Find a little time to write that code again.

Code outside of work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004670)

Join/contribute to/start an open source project. Attend a local Hackathon. Attend a local startup -type event as a developer. See what the local hype is (and even if it's JUST hype) try to learn it. Read a software related book (not so much a coding book, but something like the mythical man month, the cathedral and the bazaar,) or blog.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder (2)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004674)

Try something else. Maybe that thrill will come back some day, but if it doesn't, have a plan B. You can stay in IT, but it doesn't need to be straight-up coding. There's always database design/administration, OLAP, etc.

But sometimes I get sick of it too. Then I come back after a month or two of focusing on other objectives, and whee!

Join a walled garden. (1)

Goat of Death (633284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004678)

Seriously though. If it's about getting the passion for the work back then create your own iPad or WP7 or Android app. May be you discover some of your mojo again.

How I found my passion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004684)

I took programming in college and it was entirely geared towards me working for someone who would come up with the ideas and would be the creator while I was a tool of their intent. I hated it.

I downloaded virtual box, turnkey linux, and setup my own web server and started to create independently. It was heaven. I loved the challenges the highs the lows the frustration and the triumph because they were all mine. Maybe to get back your passion you need to keep going to work and grinding for a paycheck but quietly at home work on your own projects that you create and control.

Take command (2)

ct95061 (468843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004686)

D00d... just figure out what gets you fired up (language, end product vision, etc) and then start something up on your own.

Mobile is hot... make something for your iPhone or Android device and have mucho fun!!! Doing so will add to your resume and show you have self motivation.

Create your own at-home projects (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004688)

I like coding, creating, developing, but work is often just mundane stuff. Once in a while there's a carrot, to develop something new, replace a cruddy old process with something better. Enjoy those rare opportunities.

At home I keep encountering things I'd like to develop, so I do a bit here and there. And I can work in the language I prefer, in the environment I prefer, at home.

Re:Create your own at-home projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004832)

Nice, I do that too.

But since developing takes a lot of time, how do you find time to hold a day job, spend time with your spouse and children, and still have time for hobby-developing? It's not too much of a problem for me since I don't have a day job and am divorced, but there is still a lot of time conflict between taking care of my 10yo son and the hobby.

Learn something new and *different* (2)

iusty (104688) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004704)

So I can't relate to your situation, but what got me out of being bored with my project and in general with writing code was learning something entirely new. In my case, it was *finally* learning functional programming, and starting on an associated path to (re)learning some math concepts.

Whether that works for other people, I have no idea, but it did work for me, and made me enthusiastic again about simply writing code.

As the elevator lady says.... (1)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004716)

"5 more steps and you will be a new person"

Retrain (4, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004720)

Do like I did: retrain and start a new career. I used to be an overworked software project manager with the love of coding drained out of me, and now I'm a happy gunsmith.

It's never too late to go back to school. No sense in living a life you don't like, you only have one life and you need to enjoy it to the fullest.

self medicate (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004724)

a constant stream of caffeine and alcohol works well. ymmv.

Possibility (2)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004728)

When I find my career getting stale, I try to change the venue. If you write enterprise code, try moving to embedded software. If you write code for a commercial enterprise, try writing for an academic or government organization. Or vice versa.

Alternatively, identify a hobby or avocation you have, and write code in that area. Many people have changed avocations to vocations in this way by finding job openings via the hobby grapevine.

I'm more concerned with your apparent short-selling of yourself. Having poor interviewing and resume-writing skills is not a lifetime curse; like all skills, one gets better with practice, and the practice is free. Patrick McKenzie [] has useful advice in this area.

What's stopping you? (4, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004732)

You don't have to love your job. It's work. You get paid to do it. I used to like my job a lot, but it paid absolute crap and I was working over 60 hours a week. So, I left it. I liked my new job less but was getting paid a lot more to do it. I was working only a 40 hour week. So, I used that extra time and money to enjoy my LIFE outside of work. Passion for programming? I now have the time and resources to foster that creative need on my own time and more importantly on my own terms.

Find a New Job (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004734)

I third everyone else. Start looking for something that is interesting. That's what I did. I love my new job. It's had it's ups and downs, but I finally have some leeway on what I want to write. When this job gets boring, I'll have to start looking again. Eventually, I'll get a job at the local college and do AI research.

Move a bit out of hard code (1)

Xanny (2500844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004738)

When coding gets routine for me I like to throw myself across the proverbial board. Doing web development? Go write a coreboot driver for your motherboard, or do some wine API hacks. Likewise, if you spend all your time on the linux kernel mailing list, maybe making a website for someone wouldn't hurt to mix things up. If you are tired of the whole english bit, maybe go design your dream house or something. If there is anything I have learned about myself and my passion for programming is that it comes from a more fundamental desire to build and create. I like making things. I loved lego throughout my childhood and made entire cities with the things while messing around in msdos and inside the computer case. So look for some other creative outlet. And quit your job. Its a workers market, and you sound like you have plenty of experience to go enter a start up or something.

Find a new project at work? (4, Insightful)

frostfreek (647009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004748)

I was in the same situation, bored out of my mind working on a product that *nobody* cares about, let alone me; The product was mature, so there was very little development. Coming in to work was getting to be a major drag. I was starting to consider changing careers entirely, thinking I was a burn-out.

Fortunately, a new project popped up at work, and I was lucky enough to be on it, and it has definitely improved everything. I am having fun cranking out code just like "the good old days", so the burn-out thing was really just boredom, and knowing that the work I was doing was never going to affect, well, pretty much anyone.

So perhaps the question is, "How do I get onto a new project?"

Maybe it won't happen with your "manipulative jerks".
Maybe you have to come up with something completely new.
Are there other devs there too? Or other people who like to come up with product ideas?

I think I was pretty lucky. You may have to make your own luck here.

Start a software project at home. (2)

Tomun (144651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004760)

Write some software for yourself in your spare time and perhaps learn a new language to do it in. Then give it away for free and receive adulation/ridicule.

Calibre could do with a decent rival app if you're into ebooks..

Nothing new but here's your answer... (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004770)

Clearly you don't like the work you do or the people you work for. The obvious solution to solve these problems and answer your initial question is to quit your job and either go self-employed or take up a new line of work and let coding remain a hobby. And the obvious rebuttal is that that's a lot easier said than done, especially in this economic climate. Which is true. Nobody ever said life was easy.

I suspect you knew all that. Not trying to be a dick, but nobody here is going to be able to solve any of these problems magically and nobody can make the decisions outlined above for you either. It's a judgement call and you're the only one who can make it.

AI Challenges (2)

dahl_ag (415660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004772)

I have found some of the AI challenges out there to be refreshing. Had a lot of fun with the Netflix challenge a while back (even though I didn't do terribly well). Here is one that Google is sponsoring right now... []

Take a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004778)

Take a break, go cycling, forget about code for a while. Then, if you really like codding you will find something interesting to code again. The problem is probably that you are fed up with uninteresting things, do something else for a while.

It's Gonna Take Effort (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004780)

Do you have some savings? Can you take a break from work and spend time learning new things that excite you?

Do you do any non-work coding? Why not try something new that's outside the tech you use at work?

How about setting up an account on and incrementally working on your resume?

There's a ton of stuff to play with out there.

* Interact on stackoverflow sites.
* Follow inspiring developers on Twitter and iteract with them.
* Read helpful career books like: Being Geek, The Passionate Programmer, Driving Technical Change (
* Build something on Heroku
* Build something on CloudBees
* Create a github account. Start a project. Contribute to others.
* Build a web application in Rails or Django
* Build a game using Unity/UDK
* Build some kind of cool visualization using Processing
* Learn something new from sites like Khan Academy, Veri, Code School, Peep Code or RailsCasts
* Get a book on Android or iPhone programming and play around with that.
* Get a book on Arduino and play around with one those
* Get a Lego MindStorms set and make something cool
* Try to turn something you ARE passionate about in a programming project
* Learn TDD/BDD
* Learn about Continuous Integration/Deployment/Delivery
* Automate something small at work, build up from there
* Make your own web app/system for taking notes about technologies you play with
* Put this stuff on the web and see if recruiters come looking for you

Create your own Virtua Girl HD Program (1)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004800)

'nuff said

Don't bother... find a new profession and retool (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004804)

Programming is a commodity item now, just like textile and meat packing work. Since there are no unions protecting programmer wages, the wages will be essentially minimum wage for the few jobs that are not offshored to the lowest bidder.

There is no reason to bother with programming. Write a game? Good luck competing against PopCap on the low end, and EA on the big end. The barrier of entry to getting a game on a console is pretty steep, unless one has $20,000 to hand over to MS, Sony, or Nintendo for development workstations and keys signed. OSS is nice, but there is just no money in giving away your stuff for free.

Instead, find another profession that can't be offshored or outsourced. If you can program, you can learn court cases and terminology. Go law and get your J. D. At least with this, you are assured of a job somewhere, even if it may not be at some prestigious law firm. Nobody will be offshoring lawyers anytime soon -- you won't getting a monitor showing a barrister from China.

Programming is dead pretty much. Retool and find a skillset that is marketable.

Quit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004806)

your job and start coding stuff that matters to you.

Work for my company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004810)

Get in on a ground breaking product/company that will offer better opportunities for advancement and control over your creative works.

Office Space (1)

xpwlq (2222992) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004816)

Step 1: Instead of rounding off the extra decimals of a cent in every transaction, deposit them into a bank account. Step 2: Destroy a piece of office property with a baseball bat. Step 3: Sleep with Jennifer Aniston. Step 4: Set the building on fire. Step 5: Work for construction company. []

Why I left software (and might return) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004826)

We are all motivated by different things, but here are some of my personal motivaters. I left the software industry because I was frustrated and unfulfilled. I've learned several things since then:

* I am highly motivated by relationships and social environments. Whenever I lost this, I start hating my work.
* I am highly motivated by challenge. This is difficult because your job probably isn't mentally challenging for you. However, you can find new challenges. For example, if I were to return to software, I would explore a more managerial role, simply because of the challenge. You can find challenge within the context of your current responsibilities and job, and you can explore additional opportunities at work.
* I am highly motivated by change, partially because it brings challenge. However, you can't get new projects every day, so you have to learn to create variety in your current jobs. Sounds tough, but it's a great concept.
* I am also motivated by helping others reach their dreams. If I were to return to software, I would focus on developing others on my team into the people they want to become. I am currently mentoring a high school kid who has an interest in computers. While I don't care for the specific things we work on, I am highly motivated by knowing that this is stuff that he loves and that it may open up doors for him to find a career that is truly his passion.

I am convinced that much of our motivation does not come from the specifics of what we do (although that plays a significant part), but often there are much deeper and more abstract things that motivate us. Now that I know this, I believe I may be able to craft my job description as a software engineer into something that I find very fulfilling, especially given the deep range of knowledge that I've gained in my time developing software in the past.

Also, my influences in my thinking (in no particular order) include Daniel Pink (Drive), Ken Richardson (The Element), Marcus Buckingham (Putting Your Strengths to Work / Trombone Player Wanted). There may be more.


learn Ruby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004840)

Ruby was designed to make programmers happy - and it works.

It's a great language and in high demand. It is awesome for morale and it has all sorts of cool features that are actually super-useful.

You may find ways to use it at work - but if not, it will give you some evening enjoyment.

How I found my passion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004852)

I went to college and they drilled into me routine with the intent of me working for someone else, I had to take the course twice because I absolutely hated it. Being the mere tool of someone else is soul crushing.

I figured with all this stuff in my head I should put it to good use since I certainly wasn't finding any work. I downloaded virtual box, turnkey linux, and had my own web server up and going in about 10 minutes. From there the passion flowed, this was my baby after all. The highs, the lows, the frustration and the triumphs were personal, they were mine and I got to own my failures and my successes. It was pure heaven and after that feeling you couldn't pry the keyboard from my cold dead hands :)

It might be gone (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004862)

You m,ay havde moved part it. You shoud think about that, it's its true it will be better to come to terms and figure out your career then waiting around for some spark to magically come back.

As uch As I enjoy being a software developer, it is certialy become routine. I started several projects at home, but now it's just not really at the top of my enjoyment. I would rather help my kids understand algebra, or take then to Orycon.
Help my son work with his Model trains, or help my daughter record minecraft videos. Getting up early on a Saturday so I can go launch rockets with my kids is far more satisfying the staying up till 3am coding.

It's like I get to use all the accumulate tech experiences to do fun things with my kids.

Maybe you have the spark sitting there, but in my experience people with the spark don't need to ask about getting it back.

Except the All Spark.

Find some people in meatspace who are passionate (1)

RockGrumbler (1795608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004866)

I was in a similar spot for quite a while. During the last couple of years at my unhappy job, I found some other programmers who were already passionate about programming and involved in at home projects. Talking to them about their projects made me want to program at-home projects myself. Every day became a treat as we compared war stories and talked about the challenges we were dealing with. Passion can be just as contagious as negativity, the company you keep can make all the difference.

Python + Project Euler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004868)

As Randal said:

Quit being a generic coder (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004878)

Quit being a generic coder. As long as you're an interchangeable cog, you'll be treated like one and feel like one.

Find a niche. Do you like biology? Astronomy? Nuclear physics? Radio? Find something you enjoy that you can develop a deep skill in addition to being a coder, so you're now an "$whatever specialist" who's capable of understanding that deep problem and writing the code to solve it. And keep learning about it - unless you're learning something new as you go along, you're going to get bored.

And if you're really bored... Start writing code that controls fucking robots. That will ALWAYS be exciting, sometimes because it works, more often when it doesn't.

Re:Quit being a generic coder (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004908)

... and yes, I'm aware that "fucking robots" can be interpreted several ways. I believe my statement is applicable to all of them. :)

Change the world? (1)

emagery (914122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004892)

I can say much the same as you, @poster, and toss onto the pile that, in spite of 15 good years doing programming, my initial educational period was ... stormy? Incomplete, and not something I like to get into on my resume; though I tend to be frank about it (it's also a popular topic of complaint with me given the hostility from the financial aide department that didn't help at the time.) At any rate, I do impactful coding and really have no business complaining about my job, but I am ... I don't know... disenfranchised a bit from the project that, for years, I rescued, resurrected, breathed new life into, and now merely maintain and tweak. So what do I do? (with cyclically variably success), I do personal projects... Two years ago, I wrote a novel (though it sits on the shelf now waiting for an epiphany from myself in regards to the all important rewrite); this past year I've stewed up no less than three web/game projects (none of which are past the drawing board as yet) that I believe could be game changers in political, social, and entertainment arenas (we'll see how THAT goes, hehe.) I'm just saying... make your own interests; invent your own jobs, if you must. Just 'do it.' =3

depressed? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004906)

I think you need to take care of the reason for that depression before you start looking at symptoms that it causes.

Have you tried drinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004912)

Works for a lot of people.

Apply for the show (1)

horza (87255) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004926)

You should apply for "Hell's Cubicle", where the winner gets to run a top software house. Steve Ballmer gets nine contestants to compete, and as things start to heat up you can expect chairs to fly. In the first episode you have to write some original code with your own special pgp signature. If you get through then you'll need to get your passion back as you struggle to interface your modules in time with the rest of the team. At some point you will need to lead the team as Project Manager, I hope you're Q&A is up to scratch as Steve will try to catch you out by introducing bugs into some modules being uploaded. Apply now, and get ready to shout out "YES CTO!"


Ask yourself tough questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004930)

Why did you chose programming as a career? What were you doing when you "enjoyed writing code"? Writing software isn't typing. If software development is not a passion of yours you shouldn't do it. It's not the kind of job you can do without passion. Plus, you're taking up a spot which could be occupied by someone who IS passionate about computer science. Maybe it's your employer that's the problem. If you feel like a glorified secretary at your current job you need to leave it. Go to and try some of their challenges. If you don't enjoy solving problems with software, maybe a career change is in order. If you find that challenging yourself re-stokes the fire, you need to get yourself a new job. If your skills are out of date, start spending evenings and weekends creating software to do stuff, anything. Learn Python, learn Java, learn C++, learn Javascript (, write an Android app, do anything creative with software. If you can't get yourself motivated to do anything like this, look into a new career.

More Advanced Stuff (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004934)

I stick in more advanced stuff into my code when I can, but that is always on the sly

Please don't do this. Resist the urge to get clever for the sake of being clever. This will almost always come back to bite you (or more likely a coworker) later in time.

With software, less is definitely more so try to write as little code as possible to solve te problem at hand.

Maybe you're not a developer? (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004936)

Just because you know how to do something really well doesn't mean that it was meant to be your career. If software development is the only thing you are good at, then you probably have a lot more problems than not liking your job. It definitely isn't your passion if you're willing to let a bunch of pointy haired bosses make you think less of your profession. If it's for the sake of peace of mind and personal fulfillment, it might be worth it to take a pay cut to do something more meaningful to you. And there's certainly nothing wrong with being happier in life either, whatever you choose to do.

Hack on Twisted (or other open source) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38004956)

You're going to have to find a project that challenges you and holds you to high standards. You're going to have to do it fast or else you'll forget coding was ever like that.

Enter Twisted: []

Twisted is a 10-year-old Python project, still alive and hopping with a large community. It has an extensive review process that lets you read others' code -- indeed, the core maintainers won't commit their own patches until a non-core dev reviews them. It has solid code quality guidelines, and it's used all over the real world. [] explains that.

If Twisted isn't up your alley because you don't like networking, take the same advice but apply it elsewhere: Find a project that will hold you to high standards, submit patches, and feel the love. (-:

(I don't work on Twisted much myself, though I plan to go to a code sprint of theirs this weekend. I can offer other suggestions within open source if you join #openhatch on

Community (1)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004958)

I don't know what it's like where you are or in whatever technology you work in, but when I was feeling like you are a few years ago I started getting involved in the local programmer community. There are a lot of user groups out there that get together, usually about once a month, to talk about technology. I've found that a couple nights out a month with motivated peers does wonders for my morale. The format of most of the meetings I've been to is a lecture by someone knowledgeable about a specific topic preceded and followed by opportunities to network. The later networking is usually done at a nearby pub.

HINT: make sure to go to the pub afterwards: that's usually the best place to talk about whatever technology you're really passionate about.

An idea (1)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 2 years ago | (#38005014)

I've never been in exactly your position of having a stable job but being completely apathetic about it but I go through something similar with things that interest me. To get the enthusiasm back I'd say look for a problem some one is having and program up a "wow" solution for them.

Everybody has an example of this I think: your mechanic is still shuffling paper and unnecessarily faxing things between a web-based database to replace it...maybe a parent is having the same constant issue with their computer...figure out some simple interface alternative that will minimize that issue.

In other words find a sense of satisfaction/accomplishment that will be give you some sort of semi-immediate "wow that's great" response outside of work...just may help bring you out of funk and re-kindle your love of programming. Also, if you don't exercise start exercising. I know that helps me quite bit.

Come work on Open Source -- paid positions! (1)

hyperfl0w (2429120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38005022)

Send me your resume, come work on Open Source projects ! Always hiring. Always open source. Always patient oriented. []

Buck the system. If they are requiring (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38005024)

you to do stupid, mundane updates, do them, but subtly sneer on it. And when they make a bad call and ask you to do something contrary to the scheme, send it back with a question or recommendation. They can still want it, but at least you will have documented your uncertainty in case it needs to be re-worked later.

In a word, don't just mindlessly generate code to specification. And sure, keep an eye out for other prospects. If you've got good design instincts, another employer could pick you up, even if you're not current on their specific tools.

Bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38005026)

" don't like your job. Why didn't you say so? There's a group for them. It's called Everyone. They meet at the bar." ...but seriously. It always seems like no mater where I work it gets boring at times. Sometimes even for months, but then a new project will pop up, and things get better again for a while.

I just try to get paid as much as I can. It helps to get you through when things are boring.

Become a 'manipulative jerk' yourself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38005030)

I was in a similar situation. I love programming and technology. Keep up nights to do it.

I no longer do it for my an employer though. I quit, went to b-school, and became one of those 'manipulative jerks' aka. marketing. I do my programming at home under a GNU Public License. Fortunately my current employer has not only no problem with what I do, they are more than fine with their marketing dude churning out code at home. Some legal clearances needed (but then, I am a manipulative jerk aren't I?)

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