Is there a lot of people in the same boat as me?

I'm a self taught guy. Never in my life had I a senior developer i could bug for answers. Every little bug and inconveniece i have ever experienced - left alone to cope and find solutions. I just feel like sooo burned out. I have some large complex system questions building up and googling doesnt give me the answers anymore. This is frustrating. I'm supposed to be a mid level developer, but I'm acting as a senior to one of my colleagues even though I have so many questions and doubts in my mind. I think I developed a lot of plot holes in my knowledge and I have no real way to know which are which. I feel I dont know so much. Fuck. Where do I go from here?

  • 8
    Get a job with a senior developer. That's what I did (unknowingly). Worked out pretty well.
  • 3
    I'm in a similar boat, mid level dev, who does senior dev shit similar to what you're doing. Been thinking about job hopping soon, not only because of burn out, but because I have no one to learn from. You need those people around you to learn from. Otherwise your place gets really stagnant. That being said, I have no clue how that is maintained through remote work, because clearly my corp has failed to do communication during the pandemic. I'd imagine it'd be something similar at another place within a year. At least here I have some freedoms. Always hard to make a decision.
  • 4
    There is nothing wrong in doubting your abilities whether you are senior or mid level

    Learning is constant, so you TRY to keep up as much as possible. Also, you don't need seniors to teach or clarify your questions. Look around. Whoever is in your field can teach you something be it senior or not

    Also, you will remain senior developer forever once you cross the mid level. There is no upper bound here. So, there is no hurry to reach an "imaginary" target
  • 4
    Post questions here
  • 12
    Go to Wikipedia for CS Concepts and Stackoverflow for practical implementation problems.
    If you are into machine learning or natural language processing, you also might need to hunt for academic papers. Find abstracts at the journal sites and then get em from SciHub.

    But whatever you do: Never try to read actual math articles on Wikipedia. They contain knowledge directly aquired from Cthulhu himself. Just looking at them will make your sanity melt away like butter in a volcano.
    If you accidentally open one, quickly hit the back button and wait for the dizzyness to go away. Keep a gun ready for when it doesn't, so you can end it before becoming a threat to the people you like...
  • 3
    @Oktokolo I keep a loaded gun on my desk specifically for wikipedia articles that are beyond my comprehension.
  • 3
    I know that feeling I'm also self taught and sometimes I need somebody to answer me a specific question
  • 2
    I’m in the same boat but I’m the only “junior” developer using Linux in a windows shop... Not even proper requirements page, full on “agile” here...
  • 5
    I guess I'm in the same boat somewhat, I'm purely self-taught and took me 10+ years to get to senior dev. Never had a mentor, but I did meet a lot of devs who suggested tons of learning resources (God bless'em).

    All I can say is, experience is key. A lot of the tricks you'll learn in navigating code pitfalls and circumventing issues is from working on a wide variety of shit projects. Knowledge plot holes can be plugged but will take time and a lot of mistakes. Finding an answer often boils down to experimentation, trial and error (in my case some such trials have almost cost me my job, but that's for another day). So don't be too anxious if you can't solve a certain problem - you just haven't found the wrenches to throw at it just yet.

    And accepting that you're never going to be as knowledgeable as other devs is something to consider. You were hired for what you can do; anything beyond your abilities is technically a Hail Mary Miracle unless someone does take the time to teach you.
  • 4
    Yeah, if it feels like you're the smartest guy in the room, find another room. It's a dead-end there. Even if you can figure out the answers yourself (kudos to that, most people can't figure out the smallest things on their own), it would help you grow to work with smarter or more experienced individuals.

    I had no problems making things work when I was pretty much the only person figuring things out but my design was shit, it worked but it was shit and I wouldn't have learned to do things the better way if I didn't start working with more competent individuals.
  • 5
    Doubt is important imho.

    You cannot remember everything.

    Doubt can be the decisive thing between "I annihilate this into oblivion" vs. "It works". I still search things eg. even if I have a specific idea to solve a problem, just to check if my idea is still valid.

    Most of the time I find ... very questionable attempts ... at solving a problem on the usual "content sites" (e.g. shit overflow).

    In many cases I instead read directly the source code of application XY or it's documentation if it exists.

    Reading source code isn't hard, and it answers a lot of questions more precisely than documentation can ever do.

    Github / Gitlab are pretty nifty for sifting through source code...

    I think what many people don't have is time.

    Everything's needs to be faster faster faster. I'm convinced that a lot of people would be far better if they hit the hand brake and started working in their own tempo instead of trying to spit out half baked solutions to fit a certain time frame.

    Take your time. Doubt isn't negative - convince yourself of _your_ solution, not stuff someone else made up. Try to find alternatives. Read source code. Read man pages / documentation / release notes (software changes, maybe a simple update can provide an alternative solution) / ... .
  • 3
    What @rutee07 said is true.

    It's important to learn and discuss things.

    I didn't want to exclude the option to learn from others, I think this is important, too. :)
  • 1
    @Kairpooph acceptance is a hard pill to swallow

    Thanks everybody!
  • 6
    In reality no one knows wtf they're doing.
    Degree or no degree, junior or senior.
    Some just have more experience.
  • 2
    I often feel that way too. I've never had a mentor but I'm the senior dev of the company. The way I learn about large conplex system questions is by reading the source code of large open source projects. Of course, that can only take you that far.

    I'm a bit lucky to have taken honors math courses in my uni, so I can actually understand some (but definitely not all) of the Wikipedia math articles
  • 1
    From the beginning of my work I had this mentor, who said (not literaly) that there are two kinds of programmers - those who solve problems and those who bug others with their questions :) So he kinda suggested to me not bug him too much.

    Since then for about 5 or so years I tried to always do things myself. That gave me a lot of experience in different areas, but I now suspect I produced a lot of bullshit in this period.

    I also stopped questioning and doubting stuff very much. I have a loop in a head, where there is very short pause of questioning, after which I either decide on a certain outcome (like 'this is network problem' , or 'I will extract this to backlog') or decide to collect more data and apply analytic knife (from great book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance").

    Now for the last couple of years in a new working environment (other employer, country) I ask team opinion much more often. It gives a bit more confidence and sometimes I see lags in my reasoning.
  • 0
    @str-write same... I feel like I've created so much shitty spagetti code
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