In my previous job (lasted about 19 months), I struggled with the lack of project management and testing, to the point that my performance and code quality suffered immensely. In my current job (4 months in, still getting trained), we have both Agile development and a better testing and development structure , leading to me working faster, being more efficient and producing higher quality code.

However, because of the poor performance in my previous job, I have a less optimistic impression of my code quality in my current job. My code works, is done on schedule and has far less bugs and testing issues. However, whenever I or one of my coworkers find a bug during peer review, it makes me feel like my code quality and performance haven't improved much.

This affects my mood, even though I objectively know that my performance has improved compared to my previous job. In turn, this mildly and temporarily affects my motivation to work.

I've already discussed this with my coaches at work and the special needs job center that helped me find this job. my coach at work didn't really have any advice, and my special needs job coach told me she couldn't help me and suggested I go look for an autism coach.

Is this normal? And will this effect go away on its own if I continue working, or should I look into outside help, as my job coach suggested?

  • 1
    I would think your special needs coaches are in a better position to give you constructive advice than us. Mainly to me this is a mental shift of attitude more than anything else, not limited to special needs people, your self-confidence will improve with time and experience if you let it.
    – Kilisi
    Aug 22 '16 at 10:58
  • @JoeStrazzere As Kilisi said, it's hard to determine whether it's due to my autism or not. People in The Bridge (Arqade chatroom) say thinking you write bad code is normal for developers, so I'm not sure how much autism matters in this. Anyway, I'm not just writing this to help me. There are likely others with this issue as well, and since I couldn't find a question with the same issue, I thought I'd ask it here.
    – Nzall
    Aug 22 '16 at 11:06
  • Does this feeling only happen during code review?
    – Brandin
    Aug 22 '16 at 12:42
  • This feels like a question which would be better answered in The Workplace Chat than on the Q/A site as it feels a bit more discussion-like than Q/A like.
    – enderland
    Aug 22 '16 at 14:29
  • @enderland There are specific difficulties and strategies dealing with autism as an employee. I could clear up his question. Aug 22 '16 at 14:35

However, whenever I or one of my coworkers find a bug during peer review, it makes me feel like my code quality and performance haven't improved much.

There's nothing wrong per se with writing imperfect code. Everyone writes imperfect code, at least initially. That's why code reviews and testing were created. There's a balancing act in programming. The balance involves writing code of sufficient quality to be reviewable but doing so in a timely manner.

One extreme that show a lack of balance are writing code too quickly, resulting in a code base that is duplicative, inconsistent, chock full of errors, and in general, of poor quality. On the other hand, striving to write perfect code typically means taking far too much time to produce that code. For example, the Space Shuttle flight software, which was very close to perfect, was written at the glacial pace of two or three lines of code per person per week. Most employers do not want to go there. The cost is far too high.

Your employer instead wants code that is "good enough." What qualifies as "good enough" varies widely. The concept of "good enough" in the software that controls an airplane is very different from the concept of "good enough" in video game software. Your manager can tell what qualifies as "good enough" in your corner of the software industry.

Don't strive for perfection. Strive instead for "good enough". Your peers will find your minor mistakes, oftentimes better than you. This is why we hold code reviews. Dropping that urge for perfection might to be tough for you as that urge can be quite strong amongst autistics.


Being on the spectrum myself (Asperger's Syndrome), I can ABSOLUTELY understand where you are coming from. The lack of routine at your last position has left you a bit disorganized and fearful of mistakes. Something very similar happened to me and I wound up having a stroke from the stress.

I would seek a counselor or autism coach to get you back on track. As you know, you can get locked into a set of feelings/worries/concerns that end up detracting from your performance. Address those first and then see if that does not help the quality of your code. You may also want to find an ally on your team to help you get a more realistic assessment of your code. The chaos of the previous position is affecting your ability to assess yourself on this one.

Get help with the autism first, see what falls into place, then get help with anything job-related after that. Getting the autism under control is paramount. Seeing a specialist will tell you just how much it is contributing to your current difficulties.

I know it's difficult for us because once we become symptomatic, it is very hard to determine just what is causing the trouble (in any aspects of our lives, really) so the first move should always be to an expert that can help us asses the degree to which the symptoms are affecting us, and go from there.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .