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360

Yes, developers think working long hours is a sign of machismo, it really is stupidity. Best startup I ever worked for had a solid testing framework, zero regressions, high code velocity. Everyone worked 9-5, weekdays only. My wife was astonished to see me for dinner so regularly. If we ever had to pull long shifts, the company had a fresh team that was ...


73

During my last project, I used to have the same problem. I was thinking about the code during my commutes to home, before going to sleep and even as I was alone in the room with my girlfriend. That's when I knew I had to stop. I have pretty much figured it out now, and here's my advice to you. Get Positive First, accept that you can't just stop thinking ...


63

You spend 40% of your waking time at work. Might as well make it pleasant. I expect my employer to provide the tools I need, but anything I want to make it more pleasant I deem my own responsibility. It's not like I'm donating it to the company. I'm consuming it for my own personal enjoyment and will take it with me when I go. I know developers with ...


59

A great deal of software work is maintenance. No hiring manager will actually tell you this, of course, but it's certainly the case.


50

Yes, your perception is accurate. It's an absolute truism that far more time, money and effort is spent on maintaining systems than on creating new systems. So obviously, the time allocation of most programmers is going to reflect that. Part of the reason for that is this a lot of people, when they get to do "new & creative", they do it badly, so that ...


35

One thing that astounds me is that software developers rarely belong to unions or collective wage agreements. I now work for a software house that is unionised, and have the best working conditions of my life, and the best in the city. So to answer the question is probably covered by a broader issue - software engineers are (as a massive generalization), ...


34

Try taking up a hobby -- one that will completely engage you. I'm thinking of something that takes a time commitment, and ideally involves other people.


30

These really apply to any new hire, whether they're freshers or have extensive industry experience: Make sure that you are approachable. If you're too busy to help them get acquainted with your system, assign a mentor to them. Make sure that the mentor is personable and willing to do things like go out for lunch with the new hire. The mentor's job is to ...


30

Making software re-usable and bullet proof is not the driving force of software engineering. Engineering is about solving real world problems optimally within real world constraints. Most engineers would prefer to work on a Ferrari - but a station wagon needs just as much engineering, and the reason a station wagon doesn't perform as well (in some ways) is ...


28

The short version: Run. The somewhat longer version: If the manager doesn't know how to run a project, and if the senior goes along with it, then you have next to no chance of fixing things. In order to manage software projects, a manager does need to understand something about software. If managers don't, they need to learn first. What are your ...


26

In my opinion there should never be a reason to work overtime, weekends, etc. for a business where you are just an employee (if you are a partner, stakeholder, or if it's your own business then it's acceptable once in a while). Any time this happens, it indicates a much larger problem (usually at the management level) and that problem should be addressed ...


23

My wife and I bought a house about 3 years ago and it was cheap fixer-upper. Over the past three years I have been taking on projects and doing things that used to unnerve me and some things that some people told me that aren't worth the trouble. Building, painting, cement patching, drywall, flooring, carpentry, metal working, and doing it all on your own ...


19

The most significant factor in working long (unpaid) hours, as I see it, is the culture of the department. If everyone else stays back in the office until 8pm then you're going to be expected to as well. This culture is often brought about because 90% of the time, management are unable to see a true picture of the productivity of developers. The easiest ...


18

From my first job at a consulting company: "We don't work for free." - CEO This is not to say that the sales team didn't do a lot of work, that they didn't do lots of marketing, etc, but that there were limits. I have learned that employers will allow you to do as much work as you are willing to do, and if you are willing to do the work of two people, they ...


17

No. If I'm working with their equipment, it is up to them to provide fast, reliable hardware. I am not going to buy my own equipment for their benefit. They will buy it or they will deal with the productivity cost incurred by less-performant hardware. Do not even set the precedent. Your last question about a retroactive reimbursement, that's just folly. If ...


17

Dan's answer does a good job of covering how to reduce the urge to think about work. So let's talk about activities. What kind of mentally stimulating activites do you occupy your non-work hours with? Board Games Many modern board games are social, mentally stimulating, and fun to play. Games like Ticket To Ride and Dominion have great strategy ...


16

"How do you stop yourself from bringing work home?" I lock my laptop in the desk drawer every day when I leave for home. I don't bother to learn to connect to the company via VPN. I didn't even bookmark the web interface for company email. My home computers all run Linux, so some of the development tools we use at work wouldn't even install on my home ...


16

Legacy systems are the successful ones. They survived the initial development process where 50% of projects fail (even after success has been redefined!). They survived a changing business environment. They probably survived about ten proposals by young naive programmers to re-write the whole thing in Java or whatever was trendy at the time. They were lucky ...


15

Sounds to me like you need to fit in with their way of working a bit more, give them a chance. You are the new guy, it's up to you to fit in I'm afraid. The guy offered to show you how the string truncate worked, but you seemed to just ignore him. Sounds to me that this was a chance to work with them and get to know them and discover what their issues and ...


15

You say in one of the comments that this is your first job. Managers often aren't technical anywhere except a dedicated software shop in my experience. This is part of life, just get used to that. You cry and whine because there is no one to appreciate the elegance of your solutions. The real problem here isn't that there is no one to appreciate the ...


14

...keep changing the requirement specification. Changes which, if good engineering be done and not patchy "fixes", require change in the underlying design. Sounds like the real world. This happens all the time, everywhere. Yes it sucks, but it's bearable with some sort of agile attitude. Besides, one measure of software goodness is its malleability. ...


13

Actually, this bothers me. You're in a profession where you develop tools for research scientists, correct. However, you're told to make these programs quick and have them appear to work minimally. Surprise surprise. This is simply the researcher's typical approach to programming with the buck passed off to an actual programmer. The main concern here being ...


12

To me, "adding some features" can be creative. For service, you have be passionate if you want to keep the customers happy. In either company, you will face a lot of problems and some of them will be difficult to solve. I've been working in the States, Canada, China and Hong Kong. In my personal experience, no matter which type of company you are working ...


12

The term that's often used for new projects that aren't dependent on older development is greenfield project. You may occasionally see the term in job listings -- knowing that you get to start from scratch rather than inheriting somebody else's failed endeavor can make a job more appealing. Successful software projects generally spend a lot more time being ...


11

There's so many factors that feed into employee turnover that its impossible to generalize. Here's some examples of things that can have a huge impact: Does the company provide a career path for software engineers to keep growing, learning, and increasing their salary? Or are you expected to do the same dull work, at the same pay indefinitely? Is the ...


11

It's a bit of a catch-22. Employees are responsible for their own morale, ultimately. If you find yourself unhappy and unmotivated in what you do, it's up to you to do what it takes to change that, up to and including switching to a more rewarding position or employer. Ultimately, it's the employees' life, and relying on an employer to be ultimately ...


10

12 Questions to Measure Employee Engagement has some good questions for general job satisfaction that may be useful: Do you know what is expected of you at work? Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? In the last seven days, have you received recognition ...


10

I think I can really help you with this one. When I was 18, my first job was a Jr. .Net Developer position. They had a very large framework and he had me jump straight into learning a crash course on CAB, and when the first project came I was expected to estimate the project, and learn SqlServer, and their framework. What made this a wonderful experience was ...


9

Make sure when you leave at the end of the day and especially the weekend, you have good notes, reminders for whatever needs to be done next. I tend to leave an 8:00 am reminder if there is something pressing. This is the start of peace of mind if you feel you are prepared. Schedule non-work activities with people who will attempt to not bring up work. The ...



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