When should you quit work as a programmer?

When should you quit work as a programmer?

Ever since I started working as a programmer I have found it pretty difficult. The issue is simply that I can not work at the speed that is expected of me. Everyone else seems to get their code completed much faster. I end up having to work evenings and weekends, and even then, I am still almost always behind on my deadlines. I am starting to think maybe I’m not cut out for programming, and I should quit. I started my most recent job about three years ago, and I was hoping I would get better over time, but it seems like I am still not up to speed. I really wish managers would just let me complete work in my own time.

In my defence, I do feel that I haven’t had much opportunity to develop my skills. I have only actually worked on a few projects from start to finished. Mostly I have been asked to do cases and modifications. I had another job previously, but I was mainly doing bug fixing and testing, and before that I did a one year masters course in computer science, without any previous background in computer science. The course itself only involved coding on maybe a quarter of the modules.

Maybe I should find a new line of work, but I am now in my early thirties and I am getting really tired of spending so much time and energy trying to carve out a career for myself. I’d like to find some to marry and maybe start a family, which is not very likely to happen if I’m spending all my time working.
Any advice or thoughts?

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Speed is not everything. What about the quality of the code you make ?
Is your manager satisfied of your work regardless you code slower than your colleagues ?

Otherwise maybe you should consider to move to another company and see if it is better

Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about that so much.

What kind of feedback are you getting from your managers?

I really wish managers would just let me complete work in my own time.

Yeah, that can be frustrating. I can sympathize, but we’re also not the one’s in charge.

I guess the biggest question to ask is: Do you enjoy coding? I know there are frustrating parts, but are there also fun parts?

And remember that work is hard - that’s why they pay us. The vast majority of the people on the planet do not have a job that is always fun. In fact, most people have jobs that they hate. They do it because they need money. My favorite jobs ever were jazz guitarist and pizza delivery. I don’t do them anymore because I got tired about being stressed out about money all the time. I’m stressed out now, but at least I have money in the bank and take nice vacations.

So, if I can (unfairly) jump to conclusions about your employer, they sound disorganized, bad at communication, bad at helping their employees grow, and bad at helping their employers find a good work/life balance.

Yes, there are a lot of great employers out there. People assume that the tech world must be well run. But there are a lot of idiots out there. There are a lot of startups that don’t know what they are doing. There are a lot of bigger companies that don’t know how to scale and run into all kinds of problems. There are also some companies that have tech departments that don’t know how to use them.I had a friend that worked as a programmer for a fast food restaurant. He quit after a few months because he said that they treated their coders like they were 16-year olds, working the fryer.

Have you considered looking for a new job?


Working in your off-hours definitely makes it seem like this is not a good job. What happens if you don’t? You should only be working the hours that you are payed to work (I understand that you are probably salaried, but the concept holds). If your management is not happy with the work that you can produce in your work hours, then they should be willing to work with you to resolve that. If they expect you to work on your nights and weekends to hit deadlines, then it is time to look for another job.

As for whether you want your next job to be a programming job is your call. Do you enjoy it enough to do it 40hrs a week? In my experience, work as a programmer is always difficult and always frustrating. For some people that is acceptable because they would rather do work that is stressful because it is challenging than make other tradeoffs. It’s all up to you.


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