Software professional with 25+ years in SaaS product development, coding, consulting, platform transformations, and data migrations.

Contact: hikingdave @ gmail.com

Buried in Code, but still thinking...

6 weeks ago, I took on a large task - to completely modernize the product I've been working on for the last 7 years, from old school jQuery, into React (with hooks). It has been a fun project, mostly straightforward work, but a lot of it.

It has given me no time to write, but plenty of time to think. 

And I think I've been doing this "Senior Software Engineer" role long enough. So I'm thinking, if I want to stop coding, but want to keep a decent career, what options should I pursue? Which led me to the question of: If I no longer care about the code, what do I care about?

I've realized that I care about people. I care about the customers of the products that I make more than I care about the product. I care about the people on the team, and that they are satified in their work and their career. I care that communications are working well, and that all people who interact with my team come away feeling positive about the experience.

This also leads me to think about what people need to get to the heathy working environment that I heop for people. I see gaps in:

  • Communication - software people are not brilliant communicators. Sorry, we jsut aren't.
  • Trust - We tend to not trust our leaders. Often unfairly. 
  • Leadership Skills - We tend to self-orgnize around the most clever people, and tolerate whomever the org chart says is on top (maybe). Few of us are truly good leaders.
  • "Why" and "What" - Software people are terrific at knowing "How" to solve problems, and "How" to build things. But they'll keep on coding just because it is what they do, without asking why they are doing it, or what they should be doing.

So I'm re-thinking where to focus my efforts. My current thinking is that I can build on those gaps, with a focus on having a positive impact on people's lives, careers, and teams. 

How will that come to fruition? I'm not sure. Maybe more writing, maybe tools to help evaluate and guide where people are and where they can grow. Maybe consulting. Maybe just stay in my job and try to make it a better place. Maybe pursue more of a leaadership role. Maybe find a new job. 

I'm not 100% sure. But at least I know what areas I care about, and can give some serious thought to where this all should lead me. No rush, but over the next few months, I'll be considering options.