After writing about “The Long Road” in my last post, I decided to read the referenced “A Different Road” pattern. This pattern is exactly as described in “The Long Road”. It is a pattern that basically tells you that it is ok to step away from software development and that even if you leave, you will carry what you have learned into whatever path you choose to take. This pattern also warns readers about the difficulties that may arise if they want to come back to the world of software development after taking a break of any kind.
Compared to “The Long Road”, I very much align more with this pattern. I agree that the problem solving techniques learned throughout years of software development can be useful in other career or life paths. I feel like this pattern should have given more insight into this aspect of choosing a different road. This section didn’t really discuss how one might move from a developer position to a project manager position where such technical insight would be a massive benefit to a company. Being in a position like this and having a strong understanding on the feasibility of reaching deadlines and being able to relate to the developers working under you makes you a great asset to your company. The pattern instead gives examples of teaching and full time parenthood.
I entirely agree with the aspect of this pattern that talks about how difficult it is to find a job after having a gap in employment. I follow several computer science career related forums and this is a very common point of conversation. Whether it is a young adult who takes a gap year after graduating, or a parent who takes off the first year of their child’s life to bond more, they both often have trouble finding work after their gaps. This all varies company to company and there are definitely companies out there that value work-life balance as a core principle of the the company’s mission statement. From my experience, companies that have more of an older employee base are more work-life balance heavy. They tend to have more of an understanding of the 40-45 hour work week. There are also companies in the area of defense contracting that almost “have” to have their employees work a maximum of 40 hours a week due to contracts. It is all about putting in the effort to get back into work and finding a company that will work for you. If they don’t understand a reason for taking a break, they probably aren’t a company you want to work for.