Most of us have probably heard that software development is a boring job. Well, you’re not alone. Many software developers agree with the statement that software development is boring. What do they mean when they say it’s boring?
In this article, we’ll dive into some of the most common reasons why software developers are bored out of their minds. Then, we’ll look at what software development is like, what causes boredom, and how you can change the status quo.
What makes the software development job boring?
There can be many reasons for fatigue at work. Too few activities and performing the same activities repeatedly are some of the possible causes of this condition. What causes boredom, however, is not routine but the lack of challenges. It, in turn, usually results from the inappropriate matching of duties to the skills and qualifications of the software developer. For professional tasks to be a challenge for someone performing them, they must be appropriately selected for their abilities – simple enough to carry them out and difficult sufficient to use the potential and demonstrate skills.
If this is not the case, the employee ceases to be involved in the activity and becomes weary, and if this condition persists for a long time, it can turn into the so-called rust-out syndrome. It is a chronic symptom complex that develops in an employee when they do not fully use their talents and abilities. It occurs when there is an excessive discrepancy between what the employee can do and their requirements.
So if you’re bored at work, you’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent study, between 43% and 53% of employees are bored at work.
And if you’re reading this, you’re probably not alone. The good news is that there are ways to beat boredom at work, and they don’t involve anything drastic.
Is software development a fun job?
There are several things you can do to beat boredom at work. Here are some of them.
1. Focus on the future
A lack of future focus usually causes boredom at work. You might be working hard, but you’re not working smart.
When working hard, you usually work on things that you think will move you towards your goals.
But when working smart, you work on things that move you towards your goals. Something that you know will make you a better version of yourself in the long run.
And when you’re working smart, you’re always thinking about the future. You’re thinking about what you want and what you can do to get there. So that’s why the number one thing you can do to beat work boredom is focus on the future.
But when you’re bored at work, you’re probably working hard. You’re probably thinking about how much you’re going to work today. You’re probably thinking about how many more hours you must work today.
So stop working hard. Stop thinking about how much you’re going to work today.
2. Monitor your well-being
Among many ways of preventing boredom at work, self-consciousness is the most important. You need to observe your attitude to work and assess your motivation and satisfaction with what you are doing.
Any symptoms of boredom should be a red flare for you and trigger actions leading to either aligning your responsibilities better changing your job if it doesn’t work. Some activities prevent software developers from getting bored at work regardless of their experience and expertise.
3. Work on a project end-to-end
Each of us has a set of skills that we are excellent at, and we are more likely to get involved in tasks that we feel good at. However, spending too much time on repetitive tasks will make anyone bored sooner or later. This often happens when software developers are moved from one project to another to work only on chosen tasks instead of getting involved in the whole project.
Working on a project from end to end positively influences the development of new skills. It also brings the feeling of responsibility for the job and gives software developers a bigger picture of what they do and why. Furthermore, when people are involved in a software project from the beginning, they can witness each stage of software development, which is beneficial in future work.
4. Get new skills
Each company should allow software developers to develop new skills, learn new technologies and open new career opportunities if needed. Traditional levels of expertise in software development include trainee developer, junior developer, mid-level developer, and senior developer. It worked well in the industry when technology stacks were developing relatively slowly compared to nowadays.
Modern approaches to a career in software development take into consideration cross-expertise levels. For example, one can be a senior Java developer but decide to learn Kotlin. When applying for a new job as a Kotlin developer, the seniority level needs to be reconsidered.
Learning new skills prevents boredom at work and helps to discover new opportunities for software development career paths. But, of course, a good employer will appreciate it as well.
5. Get your hands on R&D
Usually, the processes and technologies used are new in a research and development project. Sometimes known technologies are utilized in a completely novel way. Everyone with the spirit for experimentation should be interested in working for companies with solid R&D culture.
The primary purpose of a research and development project is to get new products and services, which will help companies compete in the market, increase sales and profits, improve the quality of the products and services, and gain a competitive advantage.
R&D projects are a perfect way to deal with boredom in software development jobs. They introduce new technologies and methodologies and make room for experiments and learning. So anyone who thinks a software development job is boring should try working on an R&D project.
6. Choosing the right team
Working with other people who don’t care about quality, using outdated technology, writing code that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. Lack of intellectual challenge in software development (or any other job) increases the risk of routine and lack of job satisfaction. Programming can be dull if you do it the same way for a long time. Programming is not just about coding; it’s about creating a new product, designing it, testing it, deploying it, managing it, and most importantly, selling it.
If the team can do all those things well, it’s a lot of fun.
The consequences of being unhappy at work
Recent research has shown that unhappiness at work has a significant influence on software developers’ lives. Unhappy developers offer lower cognitive performance, including soft focus or uncertain decision-making. In addition, lower motivation, lack of creativity, or rushing through tasks are some of the costs associated with unhappiness.
Many consequences go beyond the working environment and bring stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, sadness, or even depression.
According to an online survey by salary.com, boredom ranks fourth among the reasons Americans change jobs. Therefore, happiness at work, preventing boredom, and work-life balance are the elements you should consider when choosing a new workplace to provide yourself with comfort and satisfaction in life.
Many studies show that boring jobs are the ones that employees are most likely to leave because they do not learn anything new and do not enjoy the work.
Job satisfaction in software development
Also found that employees who report lower levels of job satisfaction are more likely to engage in counterproductive behaviors such as talking on the phone or surfing the internet during work hours.
Job satisfaction is associated with increased performance and appears to be related to increased productivity. Employees who report greater job satisfaction are likelier to note less job-related fatigue, are likelier to feel that their employer is concerned about their health and safety, and are more likely to report that their supervisor is supportive. Employees with higher job satisfaction levels are also more likely to report higher overall job performance.
Software developers are not just machines, and job satisfaction is an integral part of employees’ overall well-being. Therefore, employers need to understand that employees who report high job satisfaction are more productive and engaged in their work and, therefore, may be more likely to experience fewer job-related risks.