Keeping my developer mojo

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I think it’s fair to say I lost my developer mojo for a while earlier this year. I don’t think it was any one particular thing, maybe a combination of feeling slightly burned out, working on a few projects where I felt restricted and frustrated by the technology, which lead me to feeling dread instead of excitement at the prospect of a new project. I started to question whether I should be a developer and whether I should start to look into a career change.

Well luckily my mojo came back a month or so later – around the time that some changes in the scope for a project led me to using my own “micro” php framework instead of a large cumbersome one, to speed up progress. The initial feeling was one of failure that I had been beaten by the mysteries and learning curve that I had been trying to overcome, but this was soon overridden by the feeling of excitement about being able to create something.

It’s fairly simple – to get development satisfaction I have to feel creative in what i’m doing, and feel like i’m learning something. Churning out website after website using a monolithic framework or CMS does not give me that satisfaction. I can’t always choose my projects, so when I find myself working on stuff that doesn’t excite me, I have to make time to work on other stuff that does, no matter how busy I am.

It’s a principle google use with their “20% time” – where employees can work on their pet projects. It’s not just to indulge people – the creative energy generated by letting geeks do their stuff spills over into the day to day work. I don’t have an employer to allow me this privilege, so I have to make time to do it myself. I’m hoping some good stuff comes out of this – but as a by-product rather than the goal.