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I work (3 years now) as a lead developer for a team developing internal tools and websites for a customer account within large outsourcing company. I'm a self taught programmer and my previous incarnation was a 3rd line support guy, so I have a solid infrastructure knowledge. We use VB.Net/MSSQL/SSIS/SSRS ASP.NET (nTier) in house and I have about 8 years coding experience. Without going into too much detail, my boss is very ambitious and uses our team as his footing to get up the ladder. I've been in the team from the start and the only new dev's we have brought in have been people with a bit of VBA/VBScript experience, much to my chagrin, to bolster his empire. It's been a lot of hard work to bring them up to a standard, but there's still a lot for them to learn. This makes my life stressful as I always get the high profile/complex project work to do as other's simply cannot do it, or it'd take them twice/three times longer to do it.

My boss is always seeking stuff for us to build for people who haven't asked for it, which usually get's thrown to me as I have the most experience and can pick new API's (etc) up quicker. He doesn't give us proper requirements, we don't get time to design properly before we code, he wants us to throw something (quick and dirty as he calls it) together so we can get it out ASAP. I take pride in my work so I like to do it properly, make my code clean, maintainable etc, and I train the other guys in the team to do the same. But, we always fall on our faces. The customer we drop the apps on say it doesn't do what they need (due to few requirements), or my boss doesn't like it/changes the spec, so we have to rework it, it get's drawn out, and it makes us and me look and feel like fools. We then get accused by boss of not being reactive enough to change. I've had enough.

In order to get my skills and knowledge gap's filled, I've been reading Code Complete 2nd Ed (McConnell) and the Head First Design Patterns books. I'm forcing myself to move into C# from VB at home to broaden my horizons.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I don't want to code all my life as I'd like to move into a higher level design/architects role at some point in time (I'm 35).

Where do I/can I go from here?

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youtube.com/watch?v=mFqvIUcfBcw - Hey look at him and where he is these days. When life is hard, you have to change. –  jfrankcarr Apr 1 '12 at 19:58
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Your story hits close to home for me. Replace script kiddies with interns and it feels like my biography. The only thing I can tell you is that it doesn't get better unless you do your bosses job for him. This is offtopic for this site however. –  maple_shaft Apr 1 '12 at 22:38
    
There is a whole art to manager "debugging"; Its rather sad this topic was closed. However many many excellent developers get unpicked by this because they don't have the correct soft skills. These soft skills can be learned, and they are powerful. We have to be master programmers and masters of social skills. –  Darknight Apr 2 '12 at 8:22
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A word of advice: Be very careful. Count your blessings. Your work is respected. You are appreciated by your boss. You get new work frequently. You are constantly challenged (most programmers like this for some reason). You can learn new things...I bet 80% of developers don't enjoy this. Differentiate between this job and your future career. Leaving this job will not automatically open career doors for you. Make a career upgrade/transition plan and take your time doing it before you leave. –  Emmad Kareem Apr 2 '12 at 8:58
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closed as off topic by Oded, gnat, Jim G., Yannis Rizos Apr 1 '12 at 20:25

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1 Answer

Well, off the top of my head:

  • Do something on the side.
  • If you consider your skillset to be in the top 10% to 20% of your field, become a consultant.
  • Become a teacher.
  • Speak at developer conferences. Become involved in your community.

You're the owner of your career. If you're not happy, do something about it. We can rationalise for hours (weeks? months?) on a Q&A site, but ultimately your satisfaction is linked to overcoming your challenges.

For the record, I'm 35 too. I've decided to change my career path and become a SQL Server MCM.

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