In December 2014 I embarked on a new adventure. I joined a startup company as a programmer. The company creates a service is called Pelp and is currently only available in Norwegian.
The past 6-7 years I’ve been having roles such as Chief Technical Officer, Front-end Architect, Team lead, etc. Each position has been challenging and I’ve learned so much. In fact, I still learn from things I’ve done many years later by looking back at them. There are so many things I’d do different and so many people I’d treat differently had I know then what I know now.
Making a return to working as a programmer is nothing but pure bliss. It is such a privilege to have the luxury of focusing solely on creating things the service needs. I can choose wether to engage in things outside my core duties.
Being a team leader or an architect this is seldom the case. You constantly get pulled in multiple directions. When in a managerial position you will get pulled into process and activities which are about things which are company related. If you are in a technical managerial position you will also be called upon to provide input or Rubber Duck some issue / challenge.
If you want to keep your programming skills sharp you will be engaged in a constant fight to get some coding time. Being in a managerial position you will to a lesser degree be measured on the code you produce and therefor it is easy to let your programming tasks slide.
Personally I tried to get as much programming done as I could. However I realized I started doing more harm than good, because I never really had the time to focus and create really good solutions. Seeing this I tried to not take on tasks which meant others relied on me delivering and having others bring what code I created into production. Needless to say, continuing down this path leads to increasingly deteriorating programming skills. I would estimate that about 2 years of working like this, most programmers would become pretty useless and unable to produce decent code.
This post was written a while back. The company is since been shut down. Learnings however are still valid ;)