The Secrets to Avoiding Programmer Burnout as a New Developer

Picture this, you’re in the middle of building your first programming project in a JavaScript course that you recently bought. You started all wide-eyed and excited to build the project when you saw how easy the instructor did it but you can’t seem to get your code to work. You spend all week trying to google your way out of the problem but the people on stack overflow are speaking a language you don’t understand yet.

All of a sudden that project you wanted to build doesn’t seem as exciting as it did when you started.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Well it was my experience when I first started coding 10 months ago and the experience of many developers all around the world.

If left unchecked, this feeling of doubt you get when you encounter something new can turn into something called, “Programmer Burnout”.

What is Programmer Burnout?

Programmer Burnout is something you experience when you have a constant feeling of stress, and a loss of excitement when it comes to programming. Sometimes when dealing with Programmer Burnout, it can feel frustrating and even depressing to think about code. Programmer Burnout can be especially painful for new programmers because it could cause them to avoid coding all together.

So, yeah, Programmer Burnout sucks but how can you deal with it?

Well I’m about to share with you some secrets that can help you continue on your programming journey.

Find Your Why

Whenever you do anything in life, especially new things, there always has to be a reason. For example, my reason for getting into programming is because when I code, I love seeing the end result of what I created; the thought of creating something from nothing drives me to keep learning. It also doesn’t hurt that software developers get paid well for their time either.

Take a minute and think about your reasoning for becoming a programmer. Your reason can be anything, but make sure you have one. Knowing your why can keep you motivated and get you past all those annoying error messages when trying to build something new.

Focus on the Basics

As a new developer, it is tempting to want to just learn everything. You feel like in order to be a great developer, you have to know how to use every popular web technology and know a ton of algorithmns. But let’s be honest, trying to learn everything at once only leads to stress.

In my experience, the most important thing you can do to improve and stay motivated is to finish what you start. If you just started learning a new language, focus on the basics first before you move on to all those fancy frameworks.

Once you can do basic things, then you’ll feel much more confident when you start to learn about the frameworks and libraries that your programming language has access to.

Trust me, the inner programmer in you, will be happy that you followed this advice.

Break Down Any Stressful Tasks

Yes, I know this one sounds obvious but how often do you really do it? If you are dealing with a really tricky bug in your application or just trying to solve a coding challenge, you should always try to break the problem up into smaller pieces and get through them one-by-one.

It’s much easier and less stressful to approach a small problem than a big one, especially when that problem has been staring you in the face for hours. Next time you run into a problem in your code, take a step back and try to see how the problem can be broken down into smaller pieces.

Doing this can give you that feeling of satisfaction whenever you complete the smaller problems and help you avoid feeling burned out during a long coding session.

Know When to Take a Break

When you’ve been in a long coding session and you feel like you can’t think clearly anymore, take a break…

Honestly, I think it might even be better to take breaks before you even start feeling like that. Working in breaks into your coding sessions can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. A good way to make sure you take the appropriate amount of breaks while coding is to use the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy that can help you stay productive during long coding sessions. The technique involves working in 25 minute intervals with breaks in between each interval. 5 minute breaks are recommeded for the Pomodoro Technique but if you feel like you need a longer break every now then, take one.

In short, taking breaks can actually help you stay focused for longer periods of time which means you get more done and feel like an awesome programmer.

Connect With Other Developers

This one really hits home for me and I think it might be the most important one. As a new developer, it is normal to feel like you need help all the time. Learning how to code is like being dropped into a brand new world.

The worst thing about being in a new place is feeling like you are by yourself, so it is very important to connect with other developers.

Here are some things you can do to connect with other developers:

  • Go to local Software Developer meetups in your area or online
  • Join a Software Development forum such as freecodecamp, Reddit or Stack Overflow
  • Make an account on a social media platform and join public groups made for Software Developers

The best thing you can do at the start of your coding journey is to try to connect with other developers and ask for help as often as you can.

Hopefully these tips can help you stay motivated when learning to code and avoid that awful feeling of Programmer Burnout

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Patrick Pierre

Patrick Pierre

I am a Software Developer who is passionate about contributing to the tech industry. Connect with me on https://twitter.com/Pierre_WebDev