5 Biggest Mistakes I Made as a Programmer

A handful of programmers tips about potential fuck-ups, stressful and anxious situations that hopefully will be avoided by my Dear readers πŸ€“πŸ‘”πŸ“–

Some of them might be obvious to you, so just mark it somewhere in your brain and be aware that those situations when they pile up might be deadly to your motivation and performance.

πŸ€”Mistakes will happen, and it is alright! Acknowledge them, hide your ego and learn your lessons.

Sometimes we are in a dark place in our lives, or just having this low period that turns into something more. Nevertheless, the reason I’m sure you are on the right way since you are reading this.

Let’s start!

1. Solving few tickets at the same time

Multi-tasking is a bitch! It always seems so innocent, simple, and sometimes maybe it is. Unfortunately, doing it builds an unhealthy habit that one day might cost us a lot. Imagine you are working on 2 big features, you opened the PR (Pull Request) and got plenty of comments to correct. Normally you would do it right away but you have another ticket to do so you don’t want to switch for now because you need to dig into the code base again and it is draining.

πŸ€” Switching context between tasks costs you your focus

Okay, you finished 2nd ticket, created PR so let’s go back to the one that is open…
Oh no! you got 10 comments on your 2nd PR. 🚨
It is totally normal but we need to beware that it creates certain delays.
Every PR needs to be reviewed by your colleague who might not have time atm, and your deadline is in 2 days. You are stuck on the review phase but there is still QA etc…

There is a possibility of a delay on every step in our development and dividing our attention to multiple tickets won’t help. Your PRs might hang longer than you wanted and it only stresses you out.

πŸ€” It is better to have 1 task finished than 2 open and ALMOST finished.

And Variant B of multi-tasking I tend to do… I’m not sure if somebody invented a name for it but I call it “Bundling issues” 🀯 starts innocently as always you see few small tickets that you think could go together as 1 PR, so there you go I took 10 different small tickets and created 1 monstrous PR.
I definitely don’t recommend it!
The time to check the PR you can compare to reading 7 pages of a book…
Besides the time it is hard to track all 10 tasks aka 10 implementations in the code. At the top of that, you will have an endless QA process.

2. Not communicating

Have you experienced that one task that totally annoys you? πŸ˜ πŸ—―οΈ
You know how to do this but there is just your mind cannot really figure it out?
I felt ashamed in front of my colleagues during a daily stand-up that I’m struggling with something so stupid. Maybe I will say something really generic matter to not give away myself and my problems?

There is shame, fear, self-pity, and stress. 😞😧😰😡

Your insecurities are taking over logical thinking. You would like to skip the meeting to avoid humiliation, you start to panic…
And here we are again endless loop of misery that is so hard to break.
Whenever we feel like this we tend to think:

❌ “What would other people say?”
❌ “They will think I’m stupid”
❌ “I’m incompetent for this job”

All of those questions are floating around “I”. Let’s flip the script and ask ourselves this question:

πŸ‘‰ βœ… “Will communicating my problems help my team achieving our goals for this sprint?”

Try to look wider, you are part of a team. As a team, you try to deliver the best possible product.

πŸ€”You are as strong as your weakest link, so it is in everybody’s business to always help.

Thinking more collectively as a team even giving feedback stops being so awkward and uncomfortable because your main reason is wanting somebody to be better.

3. Working Overtime

I always thought that the more time I spend in front of the computer the better. A few years and a couple burned outs forward I see that the so-called lifetime balance makes more sense. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»οΈπŸ•πŸ•

In general, as a programmer whenever I’m rested and stress-free I can achieve much more in less time compare to staying up long hours staring at the code and fixating on the solution. How many times did I discover how to solve certain bug just because I went for a break or took a nap.

Knowing programmers work most efficiently let’s talk about working overtime!
I think there are 2 types of overtime:

  • When you are excited about the project, technology and just want to spend time with a code because there is so much to learn. πŸ‘Œ
  • When you feel like you won’t make the deadline and you are pushing yourself to code when your colleagues are long time gone in their homes. πŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ

I experienced both, the 2nd one is a life-draining, long-term illness. Like a ticking bomb that makes you sick of working, which leads to burnout. πŸ”₯
Don’t push your luck and try to avoid it at all costs. But if it happens reward yourself every time. πŸŽπŸ’

4. Choosing the wrong job

Lucky programmers! πŸ€‘πŸ’²πŸ’°
We get 6 figures incomes which makes our lives extra comfortable. While we have those possibilities to gain more and more money it slowly becomes our compass when we are choosing a new job!

The salaries usually increase and we don’t even look at the one below our current level. There is nothing wrong with that!
I think the problem becomes when our golden cages make us suffer. We choose money over our own happiness! ❌

I have been in companies where I felt I was not a culture fit, my growth as a programmer was just fine, I didn’t really feel connected but Hey! they offered me way more than others before! For that reason, I was fueled to work but it is just never enough.

For me, it is about learning new things, pushing my limits, and getting out of my comfort zone.
Sometimes I wish I could spend more time researching the market bit more, maybe do some courses, and aim higher to the place I never dreamed of than getting!
πŸ€”Be patient and don’t fall for the first company that accepts you, maybe the company of your dreams is around the corner.

5. Quitting too late

How often should a programmer change his job?
I did some research lately among programmers and there are various opinions about it. What I mean by “quitting too late”?

There is usually a period of time between making a decision about quitting and taking an action into doing so. You dont want to rush into decisions about something that important.

I don’t think that in that period you are working with your full speed and involvement. You might slowly get bored knowing that you are about to quit anyway. You are getting back home more drained than ever.

πŸ€”In general, there is no need to keep yourself miserable in a job we don’t enjoy. Life is too short, and there are far too many jobs for programmers out there!

Here is an interesting video somebody send me that explains really well many job-quitting related subjects.

What are the programming mistakes that you tend to do?

Let us know in the comment section πŸ’¬πŸ’¬


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Programming Struggles

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