Why I Quit My Programming Job

After studying computer science in school and getting a developer job, here’s why I decided to pivot to something different

Asha Rani
Asha Rani
Aug 5 · 3 min read
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Photo by Joshua Aragon on Unsplash.

Born and raised in India, from an early age, we were only presented with a handful of career options. Engineer and doctor were the top two choices for many. Things are changing now with the rise of the internet, but it’s not uncommon for parents to expect their kids to be a doctor or an engineer.

I knew I could not be a doctor because I was neither brave nor patient enough. So, engineering was an obvious choice. Back then, software engineering was considered “safe” for women compared to electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. With constant pressure from family and friends, combined with societal circumstances, I caved in and decided to pursue computer science.

I joined a college abroad and four years of college flew by. I spent hours building websites and writing fun code for my various computer science classes. HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, and Java were my favorites. The reality of studying programming languages in school is that you decide what you want to build. If I like my sun to be green, I will make my sun green. If I want to put my text in Calibri instead of Times New Roman, I can. I remember spending countless hours on the W3Schools website learning and testing new fun things.

Anyway, as they say, all good things come to an end. And so, I graduated.

Fortunately, I got a job with a very big technology giant right out of school. And my very first project was designing a mobile banking app for one of the big banks. I was beyond thrilled. After the initial onboarding, the actual work started. Soon enough, I realized that programming at work is very different from programming at school. This is real, and no one really talks about it in school. No amount of classes and assignments prepare you for what to expect in the real world.

I worked with developers who had many years of experience in the industry — their experience was greater than my age back then. The tasks assigned to me were usually small bug fixes (change the color of this text, add a “Confirm” button here, fix the size of this widget, etc.). In the beginning, it all seemed OK because I was just too excited to be around such talented people, but that feeling soon started wearing off.

I realized in my little time as a professional developer that developers had little to no say in the design of the application/website as such. My love of programming was more about creating something unique and coming up with an interesting way to solve a basic problem. Professionally, I realized these decisions lied in the hands of product managers and business analysts.

The frustration of not being able to contribute to the actual design elaboration phase, combined with the minor bug fixes and constant judgment of senior developers, made me start to despise coding altogether. I realized I was more interested in the inception of ideas, meeting with the users, understanding their problems, and then creatively solving them.

One year later, I decided to quit my job as a developer and pivoted to a business analyst role. And I could not be happier.

Lastly, I just want to say that I still love coding. I still love my brainstorming sessions with the development team, but I think programming was just not the right fit for me. I know so many people who hate coding but continue to do it because they are too afraid of being judged by their peers for choosing something else. In my opinion, you spend more than eight hours daily at your job. If you don’t love it, you are wasting your time. Do yourself a favor and just take the first step to change. It’s easier than you think.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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