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What makes a developer happy?

Jessica Veit
Student, Paramedic & Backend Developer with a love for Hiking.
・3 min read

Getting your work done way before the deadline, always being on top of your workload and never worrying about your performance, seeing a happy build server and satisfied customer.
Yes, all those things are big accomplishments that surely put a smile on the face of every developer, but life is not always beer and donuts - it is mostly hard work. The further these big successes seem to be away and the harder a certain state seems to be in reach, the more grateful and appreciative you should be for the small things in life.

The first sip

I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I do after entering my office is getting myself a nice, hot cup of coffee. Then I sit down comfortably at my workstation, turn on my computer and while my little friend is getting ready for a fresh and productive day, I take the first, delicious sip.
It is something small, but a routine that acts like a kick-start for me and my motivation. It signals to my brain: “Time to shine! Let’s bring the next ticket on!”
It shows me how easily we can trick our brains into doing something and being productive. Having a routine and sticking to it, being consistent with little habits that subconsciously give you a hint what is to come next.

New tools and technologies

Go with the flow or be the leader. Working in the tech-industry requires you to always be up to date with the newest trends, technologies, best practices and nerdy developer jokes. This surely can be scary watching everything around you grow and evolve. It may sometimes give you the feeling that you are behind, maybe even missing out on something if you don’t watch every big tech-livestream.
Acceptance of the fact that you can’t know everything and appreciation for what you do learn, even if it is only a small portion of something new, is needed on your side. Sure, I too want to go full-stack and know everything, but let’s be honest – most jobs described as full-stack sound like a whole department and not like something one person could actually do at once.

Global warming

Okay, let me explain. No, developers certainly don’t want to watch the world burn. And no, climate change is not a funny topic. But seeing “global” as in “within your office or company” and “warming” as daily overheated arguments about big and small things can give you a rough time at work. In this regard developers are (for once) no different from the rest of the in-office-working portion of humanity.

We like a good joke here and there and having everyone feeling welcomed and comfortable in their seat even if stress and change requests are lurking on the horizon. A nice shoulder pat from your peer or joke from your manager can make all the difference on a busy day.
It is all about the right amount of working together and actually being together in a friendly and “warm” environment, but not an overheated one.

Pair programming

Also concerning the climate zone dev-office cooperation within the team in general. Practices like pair-programming often used in software-development disciplines like Extreme Programming can ensure high code quality as well as an awesome experience for everyone involved. But it surely only works if both developers are open for different ideas and don’t start fighting over controlling the keyboard.

Surprises

Sometimes we surprise ourselves with how well we write code. Yes, this totally happens from time to time. Thoughtfully written and sometimes even documented code is one of the best presents you can make your future-self or another developer.

A while ago one of my “seniors” shared a story with me where he encountered exactly this:

He was writing his code according to all defined requirements and it worked. So far so good. But then, out of nowhere, requirements changed completely. Well, some may think that this is the worst scenario possible, but no. After he digestated the first shock he went back to change his code accordingly and realized, that there was not much that needed to be changed, because the code was basically “clean” and therefore easy to manage.

You won’t release a new, awesome feature or version of your product every day. You won’t hold an inspiring talk in front of the whole company on a weekly basis, and you won’t always write successful blogs. Despite all of this, being and staying happy with what you have, but also continuously trying to improve you and your work will hopefully give you the right mindset to accomplish whatever you want in life.

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