Are things supposed to be this stressful in web dev?

Hello all,
I am just wanting to ask a general question, but is web development super stressful for anyone else? Does this type of industry just seem to suck the life out of people? Or am I working at the wrong place or in the wrong field altogether?

I am currently working at a consulting agency as a jr. full stack developer, and there have been many days where I can barely get myself out of bed to go to work. I am typically not a person prone to being depressed either. I’ve been at this job for 4 months, having done a few FCC sections and graduating from a local coding bootcamp before being hired. I loved learning about coding and really excelled in my cohort. But I am just having an awful experience out of academia and into the work place. And because of this I am really second guessing my decision about being a developer.

Is this type of experience normal for people starting out in the industry?

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Workplaces differ: your job stress may be due to having too high a workload, being exposed to technologies you’re still unfamiliar with, or maybe it’s just poor dynamics with management and/or co-workers. One thing that is pretty constant with consulting and similar companies is that customer requests are always coming in, and they always want the problem solved yesterday. This sort of thing will always be more stressful compared to an internal IT support job or academia where you’re able to more or less single-task.


Imagine a premier opera singer being forced to sing folk music nightly to a bunch of drunks at a pub. That person may come to find it hard to get out of bed in the morning most days (for reasons other than being hung over on cheap beer).

Probably not half as stressful as a folk singer being asked to sing opera at the Met :wink: . That’s how a lot of industry jobs can seem at first.

I wouldn’t know, the broom closet at the Met is as far as I get. I hear muffled singing through the walls sometimes…

Welcome to the forum!

It usually depends, but most agencies have a higher paced environment, and for a junior it can be quite stressful. People tend to wear many hats in smaller agencies and the pressure to finish projects for clients and get new ones are high, as @chuckadams mentioned above.

If you think you may be incompatible with the kind of work you are currently doing, it doesn’t hurt to look around for any other positions in your area, perhaps with a company that isn’t specifically a tech company but has a software engineering department for any internal/external software. Larger companies usually offer a much higher buffer for ramping up and onboarding.

When I first started my current job, my manager outright told me that it wouldn’t be surprising for onboarding to take a long time and basically productivity will be pretty low for the first six months. For most consulting agencies, however, they may not be able to afford such a long period of onboarding for new employees, junior or not.


@kstreich, wow, I don’t like hearing that at all.

A little background. I’ve been testing web browsers, servers and web apps since shortly after Berners-Lee came up with the whole thing. That is, I started in the early '90’s. I’ve always been in test and never really learned how to do the coding but definitely knew how to break it.
About a year ago I went through a transition and lost my job. I thought I’d like to sit on the other side of the table and develop. And if that didn’t work I’d at least be a better tester, so took a local coding bootcamp course. I didn’t excel, I did okay but to me, that was the hardest thing I’ve done in a long time.

Back to present time. For the past 10 or more years the couple of companies I’ve worked with have been Agile and followed Sprints. I think a lot of companies are embracing this now. If yours is not, that is probably the major cause of your stress. Trying to get something done and then having your milestone change before you can finish can be more than stressful.

Does your place have good a good mentor program? Every company that hires a Jr should have a mentor that the Jr can go to for questions and help.
If not, that’s a question you need to ask when you apply for your next position.

I’m not familiar with consulting companies but if they’re not following an Agile format and are scrambling to fulfill customer requirements on the fly, I’d take a pass before accepting an offer.

I’m sure in the long run you’re gaining experience and meeting and making contacts. Keep at it. You’re growing, even though it’s dreadful right now, and you know you won’t be with this company for your whole career. You’ll find that fit. The one were you can grow and excel and makes getting up in the morning not a dreadful thing.

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Haha! That’s very true!

You’re only 4 months in your new job. Identify what’s causing your stress. Is it imposters syndrome? Then talk to your boss and ask for a job review, to see where you need to improve upon. Or your boss may tell you you’re doing just fine, and on schedule for someome of your young experience.

I think I was stressful the first 6 months on the job, until I got my first performance review and a raise to boot! After that, the stress level has gone down.

Now, being at work means you’re there to be productive and make money for the company. Yeah, you may learn new things but the primary reason you’re there isn’t for them to teach you, but to WORK for them and do whatever your boss/department/company needs you to do. That’s why it’s called WORK. So it’s not like bootcamp where you “enjoy” learning new things everyday. You paid the bootcamp vs in this case, the company is paying you to work for them.

When I started my own web dev business, I didn’t know A LOT of things, and I would get off the phone with the client and them wanting me to do this and that, and I have no-zero freaking clue how to do what they ask of me… and I remember being so stressed out, I’ll run to the bathroom to throw up. Well, that was several decades ago, and now If they wanted something to be done and I have no clue, now I’m kinda feeling even excited about doing it, and figuring it out. So maybe some maturity, getting old, having more experience will help you handle unknows on the job stresses.

Thanks for the response Roma, it was very encouraging! The company I am at does have a mentor program but my mentor is on a different project with their own tasks to finish which makes it a little difficult, but he has been very helpful too.
My company is still in the start up phase too, so their are definitely some growing pains with that too.

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I gotta ask what is bugging you? or at least what do you think is making you feel like you don’t want to go into work?

  • Is it the workplace environment? Do you have horrible deadlines?
  • Is it what your doing? Are you working on boring, tedious projects?
  • Is it the lack of support? Do you spend most days going “WTF IS GOING ON!”
  • Do you have more responsibility than you want?
  • Is the work boring and not challenging?
  • Is the work boring and too challenging?
  • Is it something else?

I was doing consulting, but I didn’t find it very stressful. I ended up in a startup which I found a little stressful, but in both cases I didn’t feel stressed to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed. Both were at smaller companies with good work environments, and supportive co-workers.

I also used to work minimum wage jobs, where the job was mundane, some people were hard to work with, and some customers were plain dumb. So I might have a better view point on how bad things can actually get.

I think the biggest thing that is bugging me is that I felt like the project I was placed on wasn’t set up for success and that my partner and I are responsible for that failure…
One of the managers hired myself and another one of my classmates to work on building a pretty complex single page application. We are both extremely new to coding, with less than 6 months experience combined. We didn’t have much planning or guidance on the project even though the manager was our lead; we were just kind of left to our inexperience. And as you can assume the project is not where is should be. I feel like expectations were really high and the support was lacking.
Now I’m not trying to just turn this into a venting session because I am grateful to have a job, and things are getting better because my manager is taking more responsibility for the project as a whole. I was just wondering if this has been a common experience for others starting out in this industry? Or maybe I just drew the short end of the stick when it came to project placement?

That sounds pretty awful and definitely points to poor management and mentorship. You don’t hire juniors, drop them on a project and leave them to fail. However, I think it’s forgivable if your company is a startup and is still finding its feet - so long as they learn from it and make changes to improve process, rather than apportioning blame.

The only truly soul destroying experiences I’ve had in development are workplaces where there is no understanding of the value of proper software engineering processes. It can make a job that should be straightforward into an unworkable nightmare. A sign of a good workplace is one which is always thinking about process and how it enables (or hinders) productivity.

Coding is only pleasurable when you are given the time to do it do it right. Beware of companies that just want a code monkey. Get out, as soon as you dare.