I'm Not Dead Yet
Just about a year and a half ago I decided it was time for a change, so I started looking around for something new. Not just a new job, but something that would take me way out of my comfort zone as a developer.
This was partly because I had spent the previous few years working with some good friends of mine who were old farts like me, and I'd started noticing something...disturbing: a tendency to be very rigid in how we all were approaching development, the tools we used, and how we thought about the problems. I've started calling it Old Developer Syndrome.
It begins when you start looking at the new trends in software development and, without really taking a close look at their pros or cons, you just say, "Meh, no need to change, this other thing's always worked for me".
In some contexts, this is a virtue.
In technology, it's Death.
This isn't to say you should use new tools simply because they're new and shiny and Hacker News says you should. But, if you use the same tools and the same technologies, eventually you'll find yourself where I was - writing the same code you for this project as you wrote for the last one, and the one before.
I saw this happening to myself and my peers, and decided to make a change. I found a company that is as far away from that as possible - a company which is mostly smart, young developers who aren't afraid to use the new tools.
It was the hardest thing I've done in my career, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
I've spent the last year working with developers half my age who pick up new tools and languages without a second thought, who communicate via chat in one window while writing code in another and answering email in a third. They're incredibly bright, focused, and having a great time.
In the last year I've done my first pair programming, written code in five different languages, used technologies that are just barely beta, and it's been incredible.
So, if I've been a tad silent in the last year, it's been because I've been busy learning a hell of a lot from people who weren't even born when I wrote my first programs, and hopefully taught them some to. I'll be writing about some of these experiences, now that I've had time to process it all.