I work as a software developer for a large financial services company. I started on my current team as an intern, after which I was offered a full time position after graduating college, and have been working here full time for about a year now.

I like a lot of things about the job: the pay is good, hours are fine, and I like my colleagues.

The problem is that I've become extremely bored and disinterested with the work. When I first started full time, most programming assignments given to me were at least a bit challenging, and I felt like I was learning while doing them.

Challenging technical assignments (not just for me, for the whole team) have been non-existent for the past six months, and the BAU work is becoming increasingly less interesting (I don't mind BAU work in general, I know it has to be done). I am starting to feel that there is nothing programming-skill specific left for me to learn on this team. Additionally, the new projects we've been getting are more geared toward learning industry-specific software, and not programming concepts/coding, which I find myself more interested in.

For the past six months I've felt like the only things I've learned here have been job/company specific, and that I haven't gained many transferable skills/knowledge in that time. This is starting to eat at me because I think I should be learning as much as possible on the job while I'm young. I realize I can learn things I'm interested in on my own, but wouldn't it be better if there was stuff available to learn on the job?

On the one hand, I do like the people here, and I believe that in general, the company has a good outlook for the future. However, I don't want to be wasting my time at a job where I'm not learning or being challenged, and my dream has always been to work in the high-tech industry, and not in finance.

I guess now it boils down to a few options for me... Should I talk to my manager about my concerns, or is it time to look for a new job? Or is there another option I'm overlooking?

Here is my attempt at an edit. I think it would be best for me to first discuss my concerns with my manager. My question is, how can I best go about doing this without an accusatory tone?

  • we've been getting are more geared toward learning industry-specific software I believe the financial services specific stuff are much more useful to your career unless you want to be a coder for the rest of your life. (Imagine you struggle with a code bug at 2 am when you're sixty-some years old.) – scaaahu Oct 26 '17 at 5:53
  • "Challenging technical assignments (not just for me, for the whole team) have been non-existent for the past six months" Welcome to the world of corporate software development. If you write more than 100 lines of code in a year, consider yourself lucky. – pmf Oct 26 '17 at 7:29
  • You started there as an intern and now it's your first pro job. Just make the leap to somewhere else. No one will hold it against you at this early point in your career. Now is the best time to try new things for you. – teego1967 Oct 26 '17 at 9:41

I realize I can learn things I'm interested in on my own, but wouldn't it be better if there was stuff available to learn on the job?

Yes, that would be great. Unfortunately most jobs have their interesting parts as well as other more dull or that you've done before.

This is sometimes the "natural" cycle of workplaces, and it also depends on that company's nature or what you say Business As Usual (i.e.: data scientists may face more ups and downs than, say, coding yet another Factory pattern for a webapp on some language).

is there another option I'm overlooking?

A third option could be what you already realized in the previous question: use that time in between tasks or your "dead" time to pursue your academic interests by yourself.

Try to read papers to stay updated, go back to some old code idea you had, and even use that time to answer emails and other work-related paperwork.

Not only is this beneficial for you (and the company) but also will help you endure those "boring" moments.

If this continues to be a problem considering doing either of the other two options.

  • Thanks for the answer. I have in fact been doing just what you suggested in your 3rd option, I've been browsing stack overflow and other CS related websites to try to continue learning in my downtime. However, I feel like I end up doing this a bit too often, as it is more interesting to me than most of my work. The other issue is that when a coworker walks by and asks what I'm doing, I feel like saying "on the internet" or "learning" isn't the best looked-upon reply. – roger21 Oct 26 '17 at 3:25
  • Glad this helped :) that coworker issue is a different story, but seems to me that you don't owe them such a specific explanation (unless you boss or superior asks that is). Do note that those learning tasks should better be done on your dead or spare time, as using work time for purely personal things is not recommended. – DarkCygnus Oct 26 '17 at 5:14

Take a look for efficiencies you can make in your team's projects.

Is there anything that can be improved upon in terms of security/performance/UX that may have been compromised over at the original time of development? Get these analysed and document how they can be improved (obviously, it's up to management whether they get acted upon).

You might want to ask your manager for some training budget. Maybe take a Project Management certification and start thinking about the possibilities of extending your roles in more challenging ways.

  • Thanks for the answer. I dont quite see how your first suggestion helps in my situation though, the type of technologies/applications we work with and build have become boring to me, so I'm wondering how/why going back to those projects would be any more interesting than building them originally. Note that I am NOT disagreeing with your assertion that there are many things to be fixed/documented in older projects. – roger21 Oct 26 '17 at 21:08

Or is there another option I'm overlooking?

Have you considered volunteering your time and skillets?

One often overlooked mechanism for people (not just employees) is to spend their most valued asset, their time, in purpose of a cause they care about. For some, the goal is to share their opinion on some obscure website called the workplace about questions about workplaces and workpeople...

However there is more than likely local non-profits or organizations that might benefit from your experience.

Through this option, you can:

  • network with local leaders and volunteers
  • learn skill sets that you often won't find in a software development setting
  • feel good about what what you've accomplished through volunteering without money involved.
  • 3
    That doesn't seem to make the job any more tolerable, though. It just gives you an extra hobby. – Erik Oct 26 '17 at 6:52
  • 1
    OP mentions that he/she wants to work in tech. Don’t tech companies have those who volunteer? Perhaps he can help teach a class. Volunteering is an excellent way to meet people he/she otherwise won’t meet during work. It is also a means of connecting with people on a more personable level. – Bluebird Oct 26 '17 at 8:14

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