5 Questions to Ask if You Need Motivation as a Developer

It’s true, development is one of the most draining professions out there. You’re required to think logically, strategically, and ahead of time – all of the time. At first, this process can be really daunting, but as the time goes by and you begin to master the ins and outs of your environment – it tends to get easier.

But, unfortunately, not everyone is able to make that gap, and many people give up as soon as it becomes increasingly difficult to write code, or design projects. I’ve to say, I have been in the same boat many times over, and I still struggle with getting past it, so we can learn from this together.

I apply many techniques for staying motivated and positive about the outcomes I want to achieve, though I have never encountered a task in my life as sophisticated as writing programs. That probably sounds easy if you have done it for a long time, but for me “just keep coding” doesn’t really cut it: does it for you?

Why are you developing in the first place?

The first question we should ask ourselves is why are we even doing it, why are we looking to learn programming and the art of creating software? What lies behind the action? I think this is a crucial question to ask yourself, and know an answer to. When you’re just learning, it can be hard to stay motivated when the only reason why you’re doing something is because everyone else does it.

This leads us to our next question.

Do you have a goal?

You could also translate this question into a “do you have a project?” – one of the easiest ways to stay motivated when faced with burnout or lack of motivation is to analyze what you’re currently working on, and is it making you happy. If you’re just starting out, chances are that you don’t have a project and you just blindly follow tutorials that can be found on the web.

But, if you’re already seasoned and struggle with this – why not change things up and look at new projects/goals to work on? In every profession, there is always something that you really enjoy to do, so why not spend some time doing just that? Don’t ask for permission, just do it.

Where are you losing time?

Ask yourself, what is the one thing that is taking away majority of my spare time. Am I doing something that I could avoid doing all together? This will be different to all of us, but a good example could be the fact that you enjoy playing World of Warcraft more than you enjoy writing code. A hypothetical example, but should ring a bell to many.
Are you writing code that you don’t even need to learn know? Are you aware of the “learn 20% to solve 80%” rule? In many cases, doing that causes total burnout in your mind and body, hence motivation.

Is wealth in the way?

In my personal experience, I have seen people begin learning more about development because they tend to read about the massive paychecks that programmers are able to learn. True, it is a pretty big upside to the developer profession, but it’s foolish to expect to earn a lot of money right off the bat. If anything, you shouldn’t expect to make wealth within the first three-to-six months.

So ask yourself:

  • Am I developing for money only?
  • Is money a concern in my life?
  • How big of a role money plays in me being motivated?

You might be surprised what kind of answers you’re getting back, and whatever they are – remember that at the end of the day, money will be the least of your concerns.

Staying Motivated as a Developer

We’ve all been through different experiences in our journeys, and this is my own personal take on how to tackle problems with staying motivated when you really should, be motivated. I’ve come to learn that in many cases we bring it upon ourselves by looking at things from a far too wide perspective.

Development should be taken lightly, step-by-step every step of the way. Just like you have to break down your programs to function properly, you should break down your progress and the days ahead of you. Learn a thing today, then apply it to your project tomorrow. Don’t learn, apply and deploy all at the same time. Get to know that which you’re learning and it will come.

Photo by Pedro