Should You Quit Programming?

Written By John Sonmez

Recently I came across a Quora question that was asking “I'm A Programmer and I wanna quit, what should I do?”.

Believe me. many programmers go through it. Programming by itself is a hard thing. It requires focus and it has, indeed, a big biiiig learning curve – one of the important lessons you need to learn for the occupation of Software Developer.

That is one of the reasons why so many developers get frustrated in actually trying to program and create some kind of software the right way. “This is what I’ve learned about learning to code: You feel confused and completely unworthy like 99% of the time. But that one time you make something work, it’s MAGIC.”

If you're thinking about quitting programming, you should definitely be aware of some stuff.

First thing is to question yourself: Why have you started programming at first?

In today's video I'm going to help you out when it comes to finding the right answer if you should quit programming or not.

Should You Quit Programming Workflow:

So you aren't sure if you should quit programming or not. That's a tough question. As I've had this question before and I know other people have as well. So let's give it a stab. I want to talk about two different people today.

First we have Jose. Jose has been programming since he's 12 and at that time, he was really interested in game development. His entire life he's always been a little bit more on the quiet side, introverted side who loves to program. For the last seven and a half years since he graduated college, he's been a back end developer at the same company. Recently though he's felt a little stagnant at his job. He wants to feel like he's making progress and moving up in his career. Now a few days ago, a client came to him and his team and asked them to update a project that he worked on seven and a half years ago when he started. But here's the thing. He really wanted to work on this brand new project from a new client that he would've been asked to be the lead developer on. And one that would help him advance his career. So now he feels like he wants to quit his job. He's afraid of quitting his job because he's okay with it. It doesn't really affect him super negatively. But this job and programming is all he's known for years.

Now second we have Veronica. She heard about becoming a software engineer because it's a good job to have. Pays well, good work-life balance, you could work remotely sometimes. So she decided to major in computer science at Dartmouth College. She graduated with a three nine by studying her butt off. And now she's working at her third programming job. And just like the other ones, she started feeling a little bored at this point. This feeling of boredom has caused her to be a little bit disinterested in her work. She's thinking about quitting, but she's afraid of letting her family and friends know that she's gonna leave this good, stable job to potentially pursue a career in something else. Something that she's more interested in.

Now I came up with a tiny flow chart for this video for you to figure out if you should be quitting your job or not. And the first question you have to ask yourself is why did you start programming? What is your why? Now to answer this question, it can come from two primary reasons in my opinion. First is that you actually enjoy programming and you want to do it. Or second, you wanted to make money quickly or the job stability got you there. So if you started programming with the intent to solely make money, remember, this has to be the primary reason why because it can be a good reason to get the job still even though if you like it. Then you're in the wrong field. Now I want to ask you a follow-up question. Can you make money in other ways? If the answer is yes, then quit. If the answer is no, then I suggest you keep working and you experiment on the side to find new ways and new things that you enjoy doing that you could potentially make money from.

Now the other side of the spectrum if you started programming because you actually enjoyed it, then I have a different idea for you. There are a few things you can do.

First, you can find a position that's closely related to programming but is not a developer. For example, you could become a manager, CTO, VP of engineering, developer advocate, or tech evangelist. All these positions are tech positions that are not all programming but are close to programming and still have parts of programming in their day to day.

The second thing you can do is pick a new position or a company. Sometimes it's the pay or the title that makes you feel stagnant. Sometimes it's a tech stack. Like you're just sick of using PHP still in 2019. Other times it can be the product or the mission of the company. You despise body builders, you probably hate to work on's engineering team.

And the third thing you can do is learn a new skill that you were interested in that might have a high potential for a need in the future. John Sonmez has talked about this before, but for me I picked Amazon Echo Development and Google Assistant Development two years ago. There's not many people in the space and it was brand new so I started to learn as much as I could. And I became well-versed in the space. This allowed me to get positions that I might not have been able to get previously because there was no competition. And doing something like this can give your career a fresh, new spin and expand your skillset.

So let's look at this from Jose's perspective. So he asks himself the question, why did he start programming? And he realizes that he started because of game development back when he was 12. He's really loved programming his entire life so he knows he didn't start because of the money. He was doing it for fun for such a long time. He knows he wants to stick to being a programmer, but going back to his roots made him realize what type of programming he wants to do.

Ultimately it comes down to asking yourself why you started and why you like or dislike being a programmer. Ask yourself these questions and you might find out a little more about yourself than you knew before. I want to hear if you've found something about yourself from this post. Comment below if this post helped you decide to quit or not. Remember, here at Simple Programmer, we make the complex simple. Have a great day.