Question: I'm a software developer and have been working at an amazing
software company since graduating from college 2.5 years ago. The job
is perfect on paper but I'm not happy. I enjoy the "figure stuff out"
aspect of my job so much more than the "build stuff" aspect. I love
figuring out how some obscure system works, understanding how it
should work, exploring solutions, arguing semantics. But when it
comes time to take all of that and make decisions, then go build
something - I freak out. It's too much pressure and I lose interest.
Are there jobs for analytical thinkers where the actual *thinking* is
valued above *doing*? My first thought is research, but I'm motivated
by instant gratification, which you don't get from a research job as
far as I can tell. I suspect there are interesting
"interdisciplinary" opportunities that would fit the bill, but I don't
know what they would be. Any ideas? I'm looking for someone who has
some outside-the-box career advice.
Answer:You're not alone in wanting instant gratification in your career (insert the common Blah Blah Blah about everything worth while takes time and effort here). Truthfully, everyone likes the figuring things out part and everyone freaks out about the responsibility of actually delivering on your thoughts. But employers tend to pay the people that not only can come up with the ideas but can also deliver.
Software Architects are the ones that figure things out and have others usually (but not always) deliver the solution. Most companies that I've found are actually looking for Architects that do the coding also. Unfortunately, the people that become Architects are the most experienced developers that have delivered solutions to their employers over many years.
You are right that there are "interdisciplinary" opportunities that would fit the bill depending on the directions that you want to go. Here are two:
- Software quality assurancecan possibly give you that Analytical vibe on the reverse side of things. Instead of figuring things out you could figure how to break things. I've always preferred breaking things.
- Business Analysis. With this you can work with users to gather the requirements needed to make the software. Then explain these requirements to the software coders in a way that they can understand. This can be a very creative problem solving endeavor.
Good Luck and please contact me if you have anymore questions.