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?