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As a Senior programmer, I am taking the Junior path again.

In the past couple of weeks I realized that I lost the habit of learning and growing as a programmer. The world moves quickly and working with new technologies can make someone less competitive. That is why I decided to bring back my Junior mindset, and keep learning as a habbit again.

As a Senior programmer, I am taking the Junior path again. I started learning programming at university in 2010, and after two years, I started working almost full-time. In 2013, I graduated, and while I was working now full-time, I did not stop learning. I still had the learning and growing mindset that I kept on full steam until 2018. That was the first time I was fired from anywhere, just because there was a new management who wanted to change ways and fired many people. I was in the UK at that time, working at the same company for four years.

Coming back home to Hungary, I accepted the first offer I got and worked there for a year. I had to change my stack from .NET to PHP. Well, it was not my best coding experience, but nevertheless, I still learned a lot.

After a year, I started working as a contractor, and I am still doing it. But sometimes, I noticed I got cozy and took breaks from learning. I had a life that I was more concerned with, like buying a house that needed full renovation.

Side note: It has still not been fully renovated.

During that time, I worked with .NET, React, and Angular for quite a few years, and in the past couple of years with NodeJS.

What I realized is that having experience with many technologies gives me a good point of reference when I am working with any other technology. It is great while working, but it is extremely hard to have interviews with a technology that I once knew inside and out; now, I have lost the routine.

For some reason, although NodeJS is popular, I am getting good opportunities with .NET. While I am happy about it, I realized that it is hard for me to match my interview performance with the salary expectations I have. I know I can bring the value I am asking for in return, but for someone who never heard about me, it would not be convincing. I understand that, but it still gives me a sense of failure and disappointment.

That is why I decided to change the way I spend my time. Instead of worrying about interviews and my performance, I decided to keep my existing knowledge up to date. Although I have growing responsibilities, for example, I will become a dad soon, and I still want to take some time to play games, like now I am playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. What I will and can change is to spend less time on wasting time on days when I have not much work to fill my day or when I am just mindlessly scrolling through social media.

Maybe a bit courageous, but I also want to have my own webshop. Until I started to work on the thought, I never realized how hard it is to set up the TAX part for a global audience. It is quite simple until I only want to sell in Hungary. But as soon as I want to appeal to a global audience, things get quickly messy. I will probably write about that topic more in the future, but that is something I am spending time on.

Getting back to my junior way of life as a senior seems to be impossible. I try to think about it as a mindset change, and I hope it will also make a difference in my daily routine. I wonder how other Senior programmers deal with the current market and job situation. Although I always hear that programmers are in demand, and even in the age of AI, it is still a viable profession for someone to pick it up, I still feel the market is unstable. Willing to work with a single programming language or a tech stack seems risky, especially when asking for a good salary and for quick opportunities; I feel that just having the experience from a multi-year project is not enough. Not in Europe, Hungary, at least.

I wonder how you deal with that topic, and how do you take the risks of not getting outdated and being competitive in the programming job market? Let me know in the comments.

By Botond Bertalan

I love programming and architecting code that solves real business problems and gives value for the end-user.

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