Staying Motivated as a Developer cover image

Staying Motivated as a Developer

Oliver Sarfas • May 23, 2019


Technology is moving at a speed never seen before. We're making incredible breakthroughs almost every day it seems. Along with that comes a new breed of developers, engineers, and architects. What keeps that passion alive?

Here's a quick breakdown of motivations either from myself, or from members of the development communities I've spoken to.

💕 Passion

You don't get into this industry for the buzzing social life and cool-factor that comes with being a developer. Times are changing, and IT / Tech is becoming a more "hip" industry to be in, thanks to the FinTech industry and Silicon Valley for that!

Engineers do their job because they ultimately enjoy what they do. We take pride in our code. If you don't go home after a long day, and show off this fancy button you made and the process that follows the users' click - then did you even make the button?

Show off what you've done. Enjoy it. Flaunt your developers work to the teams. It may go way over their head's technically, but ultimately they're there to make your teams' and customers' lives easier.

🤑 Money

Anyone who tells you "I'm not in it for the money", or "money means nothing to me" is lying. Outright lying.

It's no secret that Developers / Engineers are paid well. I've seen juniors with under 2 years experience taking home salaries of £28,000 per annum. Once you get into Consultancy / Lead Roles, especially in London, you could be raking in nearly £100,000!

Look at your developers' output, their hours, responsibilities. Have these increased over time? Is the quality of their output better than before? If you've answered yes to either of these questions - review their pay. If you're not willing to compensate good, consistent, work - they will find someone who will.

As a developer you should be pushing to produce better solutions every project / sprint. I often open up projects from 6/12 months ago and reflect on how far my code / problem solving has come along.

📈 Progression

When looking back at code, look at your position and whether you think the code is representative of your career level.

If you think you're capable of better, or the code is "beneath you" - you could be right! Everyone should have the chance to progress up the career ladder, all you need to do is push yourself and your code to the next level.

From my experience and talking to other members of the Industry, most engineers will have a job title / seniority update every 2 years. It's perfectly acceptable to push this down; all it takes is commitment and time.

Set yourself a target, make sure it's achievable, and strive for it. I set myself a goal of "Become a Senior Developer before the age of 30". I'm now 27, and the Head of Software Development. So I've not only achieved the goal, I've surpassed it.

There is no reason why every developer can't be a senior / lead developer. Prove yourself and it'll come.

🦁 Pride

At my first job, I asked if my role can be adjusted to allow me to do more development to contribute to the company's website and processes. His response was;

"You're not a developer. You never will be, it's not in your nature.

Ex-employer, Technical Director and Board Member

I handed in my notice the next week, and left for their biggest competitor as a developer.

Techies might be a quiet bunch, but we're still proud of our work and what we do. If we don't feel that we're appreciated or allowed to grow - we'll leave and find somewhere that gives us that space.

Every developer dreams of building the next Facebook, Netflix, Reddit, or global phenomenon. Restrictions, negativity, or lack of appreciation will drive a developer away.

Be proud of your work as a developer. Much the same way that passion for the code and product works - show it off! Wear your job title with pride - it's not an easy job to do.

⏰ Investment(s)

Nothing motivates people more than commitment and money.

The best way to get motivated into any project is to invest yourself in it. Whether that's by spending a few hours on it a day, or physically investing money into it.

You want a return on that investment. Putting hours, evenings, sleepless nights, into a project gives it an emotional attachment. The same happens for money. If you pay £30 for a domain, and then some extra for hosting and hardware - you'll wanna get something back from that.

I personally attach more to projects with my time. Finances to me don't make me commit to a project, as I'll just cut off the money and let the project die. However if I put 30-40 hours into a project, I can't get that time back - so I'll want to make sure that the project completes and goes live.

If you're struggling on a project, look at the history of it. How far it's come. The time, effort, and money that has gone into it. Everything will be worth it and come back two-fold (or more!) once it's complete.

You can do it!

Questions? Want to talk? Here are all my social channels