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<Advice to a young developer ⁄ >

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I got an interesting email from a young developer today asking for my advice. I'm quite flattered that someone thinks my advice is worth a damn and since flattery will get you everywhere, here goes...

As far as I see, there are two paths to go here and it is up to you to choose your path. When faced with adverse development conditions, you can either work to change those conditions OR leave for greener pastures. Both paths can be either rewarding or frustrating, unfortunately and the "correct" answer will depend wholly on you and the situation.

On the one hand, leaving is in some ways easier. It is quite tempting (especially in excellent development markets) to simply jump ship and find greener pastures to tend (to mix my metaphors). What you will often find however is that greener pastures are not always so green once you get there. As it turns out, percentage-wise, most software development projects have a lot of bugs and are painful to work in, so you may just be starting over in the same situation with less knowledge and leverage. Or you may hit the jackpot and find a great challenging place to work. Unfortunately, it's often hard to tell until you're there.

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