Is it unrealistic to expect a single computer engineer, however bright, to bear the full responsibility of designing and launching a hardware/software product?
I studied computer engineering technology at a local trade school, and was frequently among the top performers in my class. After graduation, I was hired as the sole tech guy by a small local company that designs and manufactures hardware/software for a niche market.
Our original goal was to design a simple device and associated software that would augment an existing product line. This quickly scope-creeped to creating an entirely new product line based on the Best Widget Ever™.
I've been working on this project for 5 years now, and I feel like every step has been an uphill battle. The entire burden of hardware development, software development, graphics design, user experience, and to a lesser extent marketing has been placed on me. My boss will frequently approach me with vague ideas for features, which I will have to distill into something that makes sense. I've had to self-learn entire programming languages, frameworks, and design patterns in pursuit of our elusive goal.
It should go without saying that I'm feeling pretty burned out at this point. I've been able to complete most of the hardware and firmware development, but desktop app development (specifically UI and graphics design) might actually break me. I want to see this project to completion, but development has slowed to a crawl and I'm not sure if or when that will be. When I consider how much work will be involved in actually launching the product line once the design phase is complete I'm overwhelmed.
I keep thinking that a more competent developer should be able to handle this, and that I'm being paid too much for such slow progress. I used to enjoy development, but this project has sucked the life out of me.