Thursday, April 2, 2009

You are not alone

[This was originally posted at]

I continually try to get more involved in the developer community (such as via user groups and tech events). This gives me the opportunity to talk to developers across a wide spectrum of different projects. One type of developer, for whom my heart really goes out to, is the lone developer struggling in isolation. They're trying, but they're on a team of one - the only consultant on a project, a remote developer working from home, or the only developer in a one-person "department" of a small company.

The problem is that software engineering is too hard to do alone. It's easy to feel like you're on the outside looking in - while other departments have niche experts and devs to cover your back, you're left all by your lonesome to figure out the entire thing yourself.

Sometimes you can get out of the situation - switch jobs or press the business sponsors to hire a secondary dev (do they really want the entire project resting with one person, without any backup if you become unavailable?)

However, even if you cannot change your department or project's headcount, you are still never alone. Especially with the online developer community, blogs, forums, user groups, conferences, books, and the like. It is one joy of software engineering in today's world - you are never alone.

Related: What if you're a big fish in a small pond - life without a mentor?

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