What are the Downsides of Being a Software Developer?

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Software is what makes the world go around. Apps and software manage almost every aspect of our digital lives and even our physical lives. But behind these amazing apps are software developers who spend hours and hours designing, coding, and fixing bugs. And although developing apps can be a rewarding career, it also has many frustrating aspects that can challenge even the most dedicated developer.

I will list six frustrations that I have experienced as a software developer in the course of my job, so let’s dive in.

  1. Keeping Up with Technological Changes
  2. Unexpected Technical Issues
  3. Unrealistic Client Expectations
  4. Poor Documentation
  5. Spending More Time Fixing Bugs
  6. Developing Unnecessary Features

Keeping Up with Technological Changes

Technology by definition is about change and advancement. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Technology can improve what is possible or what can be done. But technology can also create massive uncertainty because things are changing so fast.

This constant change puts pressure on developers to constantly stay up to date with the latest technologies. This requires constant learning. But also can be incredibly frustrating as often things change without knowing that they have changed.

It is probably far better to specialize in specific fields of technology, or languages in order to keep up with the rapid changes and developments that are happening. It is just impossible to know everything and keep up to date with every piece of technology that is changing.

Unexpected Technical Issues

When developing solutions for customers its is possible to run into software development challenges. These technical issues may not have been expected because of various reasons.

The more diverse the development environment the more chances there are that you may stumble onto various technical issues. Especially when integrating different technologies that you are not familiar with or when applying new technologies.

Facing this kind of challenge needs to be expected, and is one of the reasons that careful planning is needed to coordinate different aspects of a project. Technical input from experienced team members can help highlight possible hurdles that the team may face.

Software is never perfect. It is never fixed and there are always unexpected surprises waiting for developers when tackling a project. It will always be part of the development territory, and part of the job.

If you don’t enjoy the constant hurdling over technical problems, you could be in for a nightmare!

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Unrealistic Client Expectations

One frustrating part of being a developer is when clients want you to make little changes that seem to take forever.

These are usually small things that they see or want to add, but they don’t understand that these small changes can have a big impact on the development process.

Often when trying to communicate the complexities of the changes that the client may suggest, they question your ability. They feel that the changes should be possible, but don’t understand the technical complications of that one change.

If the customer had communicated their needs better and been more forthcoming you could have included the feature in the original project outline.

Poor Documentation

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Software development is a complicated process and it can be pretty challenging. Developers have to make sure everything works the way it should. This means following procedures to ensure development is done in a structured and orderly manner. This is why documentation is so important.

Changes need to be tracked and good documentation is there to help developers fix issues down the road. This is especially important for those that are new to an organization. It allows them to go back and see why pieces of code were written, and what problems were encountered.

The problem is, proper documentation is not always available. This means developers have to spend time figuring out why sections of code were included. If you have ever been in a situation where you were working on a project and had no idea why the previous developer wrote code, you know what I’m talking about.

Spending More Time Fixing Bugs

Probably one of the most frustrating aspects of software development is bug fixing. This can be a time-consuming exercise. And what can make it even more frustrating is when the combination of bad planning, incomplete documentation, mixed with demanding clients.

Unfortunately due to the fact that technology is ever changing and environments vary, there will always be bugs that pop up when you least expect it.

If you find spending hours troubleshooting why code is doing what it’s doing, maybe software development isn’t the career for you.

But if you are an analytical mind and enjoy being constantly challenged to solve complex problems, then software development may be a career to consider.

For many developers constantly fixing development environment issues, and project issues can get exhausting over time. It’s not so much the coding, but the associated challenges and troubleshooting that can be very frustrating.

Developing Unnecessary Features

Sometimes you might spend time developing a feature that isn’t used. Perhaps the client asked for a feature that was developed but not needed.

This can be frustrating as it’s time wasted that could have been spent on doing more productive activities. Maybe you could have been focused on other issues that needed attention.

Either way this can happen and is usually due to a lack of communication and clarifying exactly what the client needs. This is another reason why taking enough time for planning software development projects is crucial.

This planning needs to go hand in hand with client discussions. It is critical to ensure that time isn’t wasted on developing software features that are not needed or leaving out features that are needed.

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Whould you consider Software Development as a Career?

Software development is a challenging field. It is highly technical and requires a strong desire to learn constantly to keep your skills relevant.

If you don’t enjoy the constantly evolving environment of technologies, or spending hours problem solving, then I’d highly suggest a more stable field.

Long-term the challenges of keeping up with software development technologies can become exhausting, even for the most enthusiastic of developers.

If you’ve reached a point where you are ready to walk away from your developer role, I’d suggest looking into starting a side hustle building an online income stream. This way you can create a new challenge and build a way out of a frustrating position.

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