Dang is it 2012 already?


So here I am again, starting off yet another post, with the phrase “Yes I am still Here” 🙂 which seems to be the norm these days.

As some of you have noticed, I didn’t even get round to doing my year end wrap up this year, but there was a good reason for that. This year for the first time in ages I actually got a full 3 weeks or so to myself, and boy did I need to de-compress.

Mrs-Shawty and I had a great holiday season this year, and spent quite a bit of time on the social circuit and getting out/about, it felt good to get away from the computer even if I was still checking E-Mails and Twitter.

and that brings me to my first topic for this post:

Burnout
Even the best of us have to walk away at times, particularly in the IT industry. Many people outside the industry see happy geeks, doing what they love ‘Playing with Technology’ but the fact of the matter is, well it’s hard, very hard.

This is intensified when people / managers / bosses see you sitting there, not typing and issue the “Don’t you have work to do statement” to which most developers will reply “But I am…” ….

You see folks, a good 75 to 80 % (Maybe more) of a developers life is spent thinking yes, you heard me correctly, however far to many people only understand development as little more than typing code, and so when they see no typing, and no code being produced then they see no output.

This leads to increased pressure from bosses who don’t understand the developers mindset, and so push push push until they see an output that they can understand.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand fully why a non developer will see this and react in the way described, and while I don’t agree with it, I can live with it.

Unfortunately a lot of developers can’t, esp those who are new to the game. Software development in the modern day is now also perceived to be so easy that many companies think products can be churned out like an assembly line, the result is higher workloads, many differing responsabilities and still an expectation to churn out code & products to schedule….

All of which cumulates in Burnout.

Burnout leads to a whole raft of problems, least of which is unintentional corner cutting. What happens here is the developer in question is under so much preasure to get everything 100% right 100% of the time (Beacuse it’s easy right…) that they cut corners without realising, or they use a previously untested/unknown way of doing things that’s never been used before, all of this leads to bugs & mistakes in the code, or the process being followed, and leads on to perhaps what I think is going to be one of the biggest area’s of involvment for most IT people this year…..

Security

Huh?? but hang on, you where on about “Burnout” shawty.. what gives?

Well security these day’s tends largely to be an afterthought on most projects. We just need to look at some of the high profile hacks that have taken place in 2011 and already in 2012 to know that we still have a long road ahead of us.

The problem here is that Security really, really needs to be thought about BEFORE ANY CODING BEGINS, what actually happens however is that most project managers look at the plan, and think… yea we can put that in afterwards, we just need to get the product out first.

We then end up with a chain reaction, of Architects adding “For future security expansion” into the designs, and coders assuming they will be told to “Add something” when the time is right. It leads to a “It’s not my responsibility” culture, where everyone try’s to pass it all off to the next person.

At the end of the project, a beta is launched or even a revision 1, and still no-body has fully addressed the security concerns, the application gets hacked, the company takes a beating and who gets the blame??

Yup, you got it, the poor old developer, who’s never done anything except try to do his/her job as best as possible, under mounting pressure and shrinking deadlines and now….. the backlash of a possibly major security breach, all of which mounts up further & further towards burnout.

So, developers do your self a favour, if you have space to manoeuvre and take some time off then do so, esp if your feeling the pressure, you don’t have to actually go on holiday, just spend a week working at your own pace on your own projects, or spend the week playing on the XBox and chilling, trust me you’ll feel better for it, and you’ll perform better and hopefully get those finer details spot on.

Managers… learn to spot the signs when your developers are starting to burn out, frequent tiredness, making mistakes you know they wouldn’t normally make, skipping tasks that should be quick to do until later, if you see any of these talk to your guys ask if everything is ok and what you can do to help, a lot of the time all they need is someone to talk to, generally off the record 🙂

Myself and Troy Hunt will be discussing .NET security from a developers point of view on Lidnug on February the 9th at 10am PST, before then we also have Omar Al Zabir presenting a session on scaling ASP.NET web sites and what you need to know to do it successfully.

As is always, you can register for all Lidnugs events on our Eventbrite page

Hopefully I’ll see you there.

Shawty

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7 thoughts on “Dang is it 2012 already?

    • It would, and there are fragments of it all ready in the group 🙂

      I don’t Blog as often as I should, but most of my inspiration generally comes from the questions and discussions currently doing the rounds in Lidnug.

      Tks for the comments mate, nice to know that I have at least one follower 🙂

      • That’s right Peter…indeed, you don’t blog quite often enough.

        Btw, great topic – the topic of burnout is, unfortunately, a typical one these days. Quite a lot of companies see their staff as “resources” that “needs to be billable and/or productive” in order to get the large salaries covered.

        I deal with this aspect very frequently and as a manager it’s definitely (as you so neatly pointed out) something that you absolutely have to pay attention to…

  1. Indeed Brian, it seems to be something that doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of attention it should, I think I may have found a subject that I can build a few more posts on.

  2. Great post Indeed Shawty. The irony lies in the notion that developing software is like working on Assemly Line (Ford pioneered this approach for manufacturing of Cars). However software is not really an Engineering discipline in itself. Its and ART. Big MNC IT companies end up treating their IT Staff as commodities thinking more hours spend in front of computers is more productivity and thats where the whole BURNOUT starts.

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