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A year ago I turned my programming hobby to salary-making job. For about 8 months I was still learning lot of new things, but now I feel like I legitimately grasped all concepts applicable at my current level. My performance is met with accolades from boss, too.

I get very passionate about my job. I read a lot. I'm keen to make things better, solve interesting problems and introduce new technologies. Instead, I am stuck with tasks that are boring and/or present little challenge and it has been made clear to me that things will stay that way. More interesting tasks are handed to more experienced seniors. I do understand that there is a boring-but-necessary work that must be done. But it would be totally acceptable if I got something interesting to do sometimes, too!

Recently I found that working that way just doesn't bring me satisfaction anymore. Is it reasonable to expect more interesting tasks at other company, or are they just coming with time and there is no way around it?

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    "I am stuck with tasks that are boring and/or present little challenge" - what do you do after you finish those easy tasks? Do you actively look for ways to help out, or do you let the clock run out and call it a day? – Brandin Jun 15 '16 at 8:19
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    There's never a shortage of boring work to do. When I finish a bunch, another one is assigned to me. – Red Jun 15 '16 at 10:13
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    8 months you're still learning, one of the things you learn is to do boring repetitive tasks without losing concentration and focus. Heck of an important skill actually. – Kilisi Jun 15 '16 at 10:26
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    The fact that these "boring" tasks keep coming may be a problem. Even if you are assigned more "interesting" tasks, those other tasks still need to get done somehow. Can you automate them? – Brandin Jun 15 '16 at 12:21
  • It's likely that to give you interesting tasks, they would have to take senior developers off those tasks and have them do the repetitive work. That's a waste of resources. – Amy Blankenship Jun 15 '16 at 15:20
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People often forget that work is work. A career where everything is engaging/fresh/challenging at all times does not exist. The challenge is to find a way to nurture those aspects in the job we have, or find a job that, with realistic expectations, satisfies us. For example, most despise anything tax related, but there are those who have a passion about taxes that I wish I had about anything. But I'm sure even a passionate taxman has something about that job that bores him. Conversely, a Bricklayer who discovers that he hates laying brick, should probably move on. Otherwise, it really comes down to attitude.

There is a chance those 'existing' tasks are exciting because you aren't working on them.

It sounds like OP has passed the 'in-love' stage of this position. When we start new jobs, usually things are fresh and exciting. You cannot expect that those feelings will last the entire duration of your career. Even in the most varied project-based positions, exciting projects will come and go. Even the ever changing jobs may appear repetitive or mundane to a senior employee. People who try and chase the rush are the ones who are constantly changing from one position to another. We see the passion in them at first, but as their exciting tasks become routine they quickly tire of it. Ironic because you are only providing your full value to your employer after being trained in the defined role. I say again, Work is Work. Do your job, and be patient. Eventually something will keep the fire lit.

All that being said;

1) Ask your boss for something more challenging/engaging/outside your comfort zone. Most managers will appreciate this initiative and honesty. Worst response will be "get back to work", best case you get something that satisfies your needs. Note: be careful what you wish for, new challenges have the same risks mentioned above.

2) Try and find excitement in the mundane. I like tracking my time completing repetitive tasks and doing everything in my power to best it. Try to eliminate all inefficiencies associated with said task, you're wanted to get it off your plate asap anyway. Or try finding process improvements that will circumvent the task altogether.

3) Ask if there are any employee developments that the company would be willing to enroll you in or resources that may help further develop. Most of my excitement comes from extracurriculars provided by the company, or externally.

4) Be the best at what you do. There is an power that comes from being the best [position name] the company ever had. To be the one that everyone talks about years after you've moved on. To be painfully missed when you take vacation. Striving for this will motivate you to process the mundane, unexciting stuff better than anyone before, or afterward. Added benefit: there is job security in taking the tasks that have to be done, but most don't want (and being the best to do it).

5) Buck up & Knuckle down. Wait for the golden nuggets to trinkle your way, if they don't, see #1.

5

Many people had similar experiences and some "hopped" a bit, some others a lot in the beginning of their career. From past mistakes and experiences:

Two things that you can do: Stay or go. If you stay, you will be able to say to the next employer that you can be in a position for a prolonged period of time. Some people say that 1 year or 1.5 years per position is a must, which I tend to agree with because you will be exposed to the organization's full financial circle. Some others suggest to hop as early as possible before the company starts investing in you or assigns you critical tasks. There is not a right or wrong generic answer in this one. Generally you might scare your next employer - "If you find for whichever reason what I ask you to do boring, will you leave"?

The alternative is to go somewhere else and be more diligent in the interview so that the same thing will not happen again.

There are different jobs for different people. I'd like to be in a boring place once I need to fully concentrate on my family, or to have a slower career progression.

In the mean time I would suggest you to self-raise the bar higher. You finished a task?

  • Try to document it, is the grammar/syntax of your documentation good?
  • Does it flow well?
  • Should you improve your writing?
  • Similarly how can you help the recipients of your work?
  • Can you give them something extra?

In other words until you make up your mind, make your job challenging yourself without stepping into anyone's toes.

Note: Last point should only be done with permission, since money can be involved.

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    There's lots of possibility in the "give them something extra". Even in my fist job I managed to provide a code generator for the data access layer and provided code templates for other areas. If your task is easy, then find a way to automate it! – cili Jun 16 '16 at 6:02
  • An editor suggested asking for permission probably aiming at external clients. I was thinking more internal clients as it was the case with @cili – Dimitrios Mistriotis Jun 16 '16 at 8:47
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Have you tried being proactive? You sound very interested in your work, is there a project you can suggest to your boss that you work on solo. If you prove yourself doing that better work is likely to come your way. If you look to do this in addition to whatever you regularly do then it's unlikely they'll say no. Sure that might suck in the short term, but after that you can call a meeting with your manager and say you aren't happy doing all mundane stuff anymore. I don't think leaving your job is the thing to do, the interesting work that you want exists there- you just need to work out how to be assigned to it. As other people have said , you probably don't want to leave your job before being there at least 1-2 years and even if they don't give you more interesting work after, you can focus your CV around doing this project work rather than your mundane day to day.

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I believe this is mostly due to your experience. Even if you are doing great at your current level, you are still what we call a "junior", and will still be one for at least 1-2 more years. You will indeed need to keep up the good work for a while before you start being considered worthy of more complicated tasks. Think about it : if there are senior developers at the company who are able to perform more "interesting" or difficult tasks reliably, It is understandable that your boss will rely on them rather than on a junior developer who seems to be just getting the hang of things. Be patient, even if your feel like you're ready for the next level, your knowledge and technical abilities can probably still be improved. Trying on more complicated stuff too fast is the best way to burn your wings and face failure.

If you are really getting bored, you can also start looking for a job in a different sector (but still in programming, of course). You got yourself some experience and if everything goes well, you should get a great reference from your current boss. In a different setting, you could learn different things, but on the same level of experience, allowing you to grow in competence without taking too much risks. But that implies leaving your job, and I would not recommand that unless you really feel like you are wasting your time (and again, I don't think you are even if you feel like it).

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Yes, it is reasonable for you to expect a better fit for your interests at a new company. If you are as good as you say you are and you're in location that supports a decent amount of programming work, there's nothing wrong with browsing for new positions. You'll find conflicting attitudes about titles in software development; some are more traditional and work strictly off of years of experiences, others are merit-based, most are somewhere in between (in my experience anyway).

Speak to your manager about setting expectations for your professional development at your current place of employment. He can't do right by you if you aren't clear that you are losing morale and would like something more interesting to work on. (It's hard to tell from your original post the nature of your discussions about the boring work you've already had with management).

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