You probably know this: as a developer gains experience that developer will tend towards specialisation.

Specialisation as a software developer

What this means for me is that I have found a little corner of software development that I enjoy calling home. I am comfortable calling myself a backend developer.

What this means is that I have decided to grow as a software developer within my niche area of choice. For example I’ll investigate different approaches to server-side development, different data storage approaches, and make sure I understand the intricacies of HTTP and different Web servers.

The thing is, as you tend towards specialisation, you gain an incredible wealth of other knowledge. And, unless you’re part of a big team that is full of developers that focus on those areas you don’t care for, well, you’re going to get sucked in to doing work you don’t want to do.

That sucky feeling

Recent staff shrinkages as a result of developers leaving for better opportunities and through a company restructuring has meant that I now have to take up the slack. That slack includes a lot of frontend dev work. Nothing like being forced to do unhappy work.

Let’s define “unhappy work” as work that you do that for some reason detracts from your enjoyment of the job.

And it isn’t like I’m bad at the frontend work either. I just don’t enjoy it.

Unhappy work

Unhappy work is slow work. It’s work that you often end up fighting through. It’s work that often fights back. And throughout the effort, you’re not happy.

Happy work can also be slow work. It can also be a fight. It can also fight back. However the difference is you still enjoy doing it.

Find your happy work

I am not sure how I’m going to turn my unhappy work into happy work. It may be as simple as a mental state change. On the positive side, all projects come to an end. Just a few months and it will be over.

My personal goal in the short term is to figure out a more refined specialisation for myself. To do that, I’ll try to fill in the following blank: being an expert in <blank> makes me happy.