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    Is My Career a Dead End? /Link

    I've been in IT for over twenty years. I've been either a full time developer or a developer/manager hybrid for about fifteen. I don't want to write code, but I'm finding it impossible to get real interest from recruiters and hiring managers for roles that are leadership only without hands-on involvement, and the coding experience I have isn't shiny or trendy enough to be considered for current hybrid roles. What do I do now? Snowflake class instances within.

    One difference between me and this asker is that I'm not even out for a thrill anymore. Coding stopped being fun for me two or three jobs ago, since most of what I get asked to do is the same thing I've done before, only I can't just copy and paste the code I wrote at a previous job (yay, work for hire).

    Complicating matters for me is that I feel like I've lost a step compared to younger me. Sometimes I look at a problem and fail to see a solution that would have been really obvious to me ten years ago, and then when I do figure it out I feel like I should have been faster, that the solution I struggled to figure out was obvious in retrospect. I don't think this is why I got burned out; rather, I think it happened after the burnout really took hold, and that lack of edge is really because my heart isn't in it like it used to be. I'm too old for this shit.

    This week's indignity was a leadership role somewhere they still expect their managers to contribute "up to 30-40% of the time" so they have an online skills assessment in your choice of five languages. Of the five the one I'd worked in most recently was still something I hadn't really touched in 2½ years, and as I took the timed assessment I could feel that it wasn't going well, and inevitably they're moving forward with candidates who are a better fit.

    At this point I feel like I'm in a no man's land, because I don't want to be writing code and I'm not up to date on all the latest trendy JavaScript frameworks, but my background is too sprawling to tell a clear tale that I was a coder, but then I became a manager, and that's where I am now. In fact my last transition was from manager back to senior developer — based on a promise, subsequently broken, that I'd be able to take a leadership role on a migration project where I was the one person in the company with extensive experience in both the language being migrated away from and the one used for the replacement. As a result of that, what could have been an obvious instance of more growth now looks like a step back.

    So really, what do I do now? I'm not interested in hands-on work, but it sure seems like the market has decided that's what I do. Even places that want managers and not hybrid roles seem to want managers who are more, um, developer-y than I want to be. Or they're looking for people with "more" management experience, and they're thrown because I never stayed on that track when I got on it. I enjoyed mentoring junior programmers, and I believe strongly that companies should be trying to develop senior programmers rather than hire them fully formed. I also think diverse teams are stronger than monocultures, and I'm not really interested in moving to the San Francisco Bay where people reinforce all the worst behaviors of the tech world.

    Since I don't want to do any hands-on coding, and I'm not getting any traction right now for software development manager, devops manager, product manager, or software architect sorts of roles, what sort of jobs should I be applying for? This job hunt is starting to feel really discouraging. Hope me!

    (NB I'm not really looking for resume help now, at least not until I figure out what roles I actually need to be applying for instead of what I've been doing, but here's me on LinkedIn if it helps anybody with a lightbulb).


    Published on 14 Feb 2018 at 07:39PM

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