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I started a new job just 6 months ago as a software developer. It is not the most interesting topic, but the work itself used to engage me. And objectively nothing has changed, but I find it hard to focus out of what seems to be boredom.

So I have spent the last month applying to other jobs (as applying seemed exciting) and then got to the final round and found myself bored again, so I did it with yet another job and yet another job. It is software engineering, so there is lots of work to be had. Problem is, once it is within reach, it stops being interesting and I have to go and find another thing to care about. I need this make myself care about my current job.

Same thing with hackathons. I was a relentless hackathon attendee for the past several years. Won a pile of prizes, money, etc. Now I do not find them as interesting.

I figure that the problem is that I have adjusted to a lot of success in CS and don't see anything which is both challenging and interesting. Maybe spending 4-5 years in one field is just too boring for me. Any career suggestions for a software dev?

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    What sort of aspects of software development attracted you to the industry in the first place? If its tough challenges, there are a ton of tough problems you can try solve in the research space.
    – Shadowzee
    Jan 28, 2020 at 5:15
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    have you considered your own start-up/product?
    – Mawg
    Jan 28, 2020 at 6:27
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    Have you considered that these 'symptoms' could sound like a mild depression? Perhaps something else is the root cause?
    – morsor
    Jan 28, 2020 at 6:27
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    I agree with @morsor (but i am no medical professional). Also it sounds like what I know as the tinder syndrom. You keep swiping hoping to find something even better. But be carefull because might end up swiping everything away.
    – user180146
    Jan 28, 2020 at 8:24
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    Did you try to check this with your therapist? Could be that the problem is not in CS being boring, maybe you don't choose work which is engaging for you? Jan 28, 2020 at 10:11

1 Answer 1

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You don't mention your age, but 4 - 5 years in one field suggests you haven't been doing this professionally for all that long? That said, there's no rule that you can't be disinterested in a career path at any point.

I'm a developer myself and in a similar mindset to you, but in my case, I've been working in the industry for 16 years since I graduated. Admittedly, my enthusiasm for programming had started to wane towards the end of my degree, yet somehow I made it this far before the role is getting the better of me.

So what can you do?

Well, to argue in favour of sticking with it, software development is a pretty broad field, so there could be opportunities to use new technology that might excite you again or to specialise in a different area. I started as a "full-stack" engineer and used to find the variety of tasks helped me stay interested: database design, backend coding and front-end web interfaces (HTML, CSS, JS etc.) Over time, I moved away from that into more specialist areas, primarily backend coding (working with MSMQ, RabbitMQ, C# middle tier, big data etc.)

I also worked my way up into middle management for a while (Development Manager and then Tech Director for an SME), but found the people-management side didn't interest me so eventually I stepped back from that.

Before deciding to switch careers entirely, you could also consider trying to improve your life outside of work: find more engaging hobbies etc. Getting better value from your free time may make you more tolerant of the boredom of work. All jobs are boring at times and it's tempting to think the grass could be greener elsewhere, but often that isn't the case regardless of what career you choose.

Lastly, there is a complete career switch. This is where I'm at right now, but with the dilemma that I've yet to decide what my new career should be. Right now I'm exploring options by trying new hobbies and getting involved in different communities both online and offline, trying to spark an interest that I might want to develop into a full-time job. It is tough when you earn a good salary to step back from that, but at my age, you do realise that quality of life is as important - if not more - than a healthy paycheck.

You can make switching career easier by minimizing your financial commitments so that you aren't financially tied to your current salary level and can afford to take a pay cut to explore something new.

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