Is Software Development a Stressful Career?

Software development can, at times, seem like a stressful, thankless career. A recent discussion thread on Reddit got me thinking and reflecting back on the decade I’ve been working as a software developer. Some people seemed to lament the fact that working as a developer can feel like a thankless task with a backlog that never ends.

A new soon-to-be Computer Science grad mentioned that the found the thread depressing. They seemed to feel like they’d made a mistake and had a bleak future ahead of them.

A very stressed out human

What should you do?

To anyone feeling the same way, here’s what I’d advise:

Keep in mind that no matter what career you’re in, there are both good workplaces and terrible ones. Before becoming a developer 10 years ago, I worked in corporate accounting and it was the same there.

The best advice I’ve ever been given was to scrimp and save and set aside 6 months of living expenses if you can. That gives you the ability to play a bit of hardball when it comes to asking for improvements to bad work environments because it’s easier for you to walk if you don’t get what you’re asking for.

I’m fortunate to work at a place now where playing hardball like that isn’t necessary. People are nice. The work is interesting. The schedules are reasonable. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has ended up in a great workplace.

So as a new grad, try not to feel depressed. Just remember that there are good workplaces and bad ones. Sure, software development can be stressful at times. But I’d be worried if I were in a career where I never feel stressed at all, because that would mean I’m probably not being pushed or challenged professionally. And lack of challenge quickly leads to boredom.

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