5 Ways To Give Yourself A Break

In my many years of being a software developer there’s one thing that I’ve seemed to have experienced on and off throughout this time: Fear.

Fear of:

  • Not knowing the latest language/framework/architecture
  • Falling “behind” everyone else
  • Not being the best
  • Not being as good as others
  • Being wrong
  • Making mistakes
  • Looking stupid
  • Not being able to learn future technology X

This list could go on…

I’m not alone in these feelings. I have been told the same by, or seen this trait in, other developers I’ve worked with over the years.

We don’t have to be super heroes

So what can we do as a community of developers for us all to feel happier and more fulfilled?

I think if we want to make our professional community better we can start by learning to gives ourselves a break.

Here’s five ways we might be able to do this, feel free to disagree or add your own ideas in the comments section.

1. You Don’t Have To Wear A Cape

We don’t have to be super heroes.



Coding with Compassion

From an engineering perspective we judge code by its complexity, test coverage, etc. These are all empirical measurements that give us an indication of the qualities that the code base possesses.

We say things like: "we have 90% code coverage and 2764 unit tests".

We may give ourselves targets such as:

  • No class longer than 100 lines of code;
  • 100% code coverage for new tests;
  • Treat all compiler warnings as errors;
  • and so on...

These are all mechanical, empirical, engineering type things and there is nothing wrong with that.

I think there may be another aspect to the way we think about software; a more human-centric way - Compassionate Coding.

All human beings are the same. We all want happiness and do not want suffering.

Dalai Lama

Compassionate Coding has two aspects: compassion for the end-user and compassion for the next developer who has to understand our code.