Part-time Perl Developer Position based Reading, UK

Gareth Kirwan gbjk at
Thu May 26 13:02:11 BST 2011

> Career progression is overrated if the only available "progression" is into a role one doesn't want.
> People rise through the ranks into the position of senior developer because they love rolling up their sleeves and making stuff, and are good enough at it that others are prepared to pay them pretty good money to do it for them. Each promotion or new job involves more responsibility and learning new things. It will normally also involve more money, but that can often be a secondary consideration.
> And then what? The next stop on offer is usually management, perhaps through a team leader role. Which is *obviously* a further refinement of a programmer's craft. Senior management may well think that people want to go into management, but that's just projection of their own desires, and a complete lack of understanding of what drives their technical staff.
> (I also suspect this is why there is a proliferation of Perl contractors: it was either that, or the lobotomy and pointy haircut.)

Completely agree. Sometimes it just seems to go that way, though. The
wider experience you have, the more your skills are required to add
context to the work others might do, than to specifically achieve

You can very quickly end up doing very little programming, but using
your experience to guide others instead. And you're right that that's
not what most of us are in it for.

What concerns me about that is that over time, I think the depth of your
knowledge reduces, because things evolve. You probably acquire the
breadth of knowledge by years of diving into specific tasks, until all
put together they form a breadth of understanding and skill. But when
you start to solely apply that breadth, and no longer add new depth, I
fear it devalues until you're not as valuable.

Trying to work back from that to a desired balance of "STFU and write
some code" is quite hard, too.

Not only that, but if you become accustomed, or even dependent, on the
salary that comes with that role of more responsibility, you can't
easily step back down to a different role.

It's still your individual choice, but falls into the category of "be
careful what you wish for".

I always thought mst had it well balanced, but his talk at last year's
yapc suggested he too struggles to get the keyboard as much as he wants.

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