Sometimes I find software development a little depressing. It gets me down, so I thought I'd have a bit of a rant about some of the reasons why.

You're never right and nothing is certain

You're doing it wrong. You're never right. Ever. There's no such thing. Just accept it. Everyone has a different take on what is good and bad practice. Everyone has their own ideas on what works and what doesn't. You will find people who agree with you, but you'll find just as many people who don't. There is no black and white, it's all one gigantic grey area. To make matters worse, I have a computer "science" degree but many people will tell you that software development isn't really a science. Much of what we do is based on very little evidence, a few success stories, the spouting of an enthusiastic evangelist or perhaps some misguided beliefs. All of this means that it's almost impossible to be sure that you're doing it "the right way". It does my head in.

How good am I?

How do you know if you're a good programmer? By what yardstick do you decide? Salary? Fame? What you build? Contribution to open source software? How much you blog? Your Stack Overflow reputation? How many books you've written? The size of your team? The super clever, better than everyone else's, framework you've written? How much public speaking you do? The number of followers you have on Twitter? The quality of your code? That's another debate of course. The number of visitors to your site? How much money you've made? 

Is it important? Probably not. Arguably the most important thing is that you enjoy what you do. Some would suggest that you can't be a good software development unless you enjoy it. I certainly believe that. But is that enough?


You can't know everything. You can't even know a little. The breadth of knowledge required for software development is immense, the total amount of things you can learn is ridiculous. But what should you learn? The skills required to do your job obviously. But how about the things you think would be useful, or the latest framework/tool that people are raving about, or maybe just something you're interested in. Don't forget staying up to date with all frameworks/libraries/techniques/tools that you're currently using. They're all being developed at 100mph. 

That's only technical knowledge of course. There are many other skills you need to be a good software developer. Requirements gathering, version control, motivation, writing, teaching, documentation, time management, prioritisation, learning (I consider it a skill), problem solving, testing, typing, to list but a few. My head is going to explode. 

It's not all bad

I'm probably complaining for no good reason. It's not like I have a hugely stressful, mundane or dangerous job. In fact I consider myself lucky to have a job that interests me and that I find challenging. In this industry, provided you have the right attitude and motivation, you never stop learning, growing and progressing. I'm rarely bored, and there's nothing worse than being bored.