I think it happens more often to developers who become development managers, but that’s not the route that I took.
The world is suffering through the use of software designed or, to verbify a noun, ‘architected’ by former developers who ascended to the rank of software architect and decided coding was beneath them after that. I didn’t go that way either, although I did occupy both of those roles, I continued to code while I held them.
No, my route to non-coding started when I decided that I had to be the one to try to make it possible for developers in a certain very large bank to practice Agile software development. I spent four years in the corporate change group educating, explaining, presenting and otherwise promoting Agile methods as a valid and safe methods of developing not only software, but for performing any change. My team and I made a lot of headway and now, Agile methods are considered an alternative in enlightened areas of the bank. I feel that I was successful at that.
There’s another part to the confession. While I was still coding and practicing Agile techniques, I was pretty much a purist in that I stood by the idea that simplicity should and would win over adopting frameworks like WPF, or WCF (I was primarily in the Microsoft world at the time). I disdained data binding where custom controls hid all the ‘magic’ required to update a view. I preferred MVP (Model-View-Presenter) later re-christened Passive View pattern, not only because of its inherent separation and ease of testing, but because updating the view manually allowed one to have literally Web, Windows or Command Line interfaces to the model and use the controller (or presenter).
These two elements of the confession mean that I probably have been outside of the mainstream of development for six to eight years – a lifetime.
I can still code in C#, and I can even push by in Python if I have to but these new frameworks in their new environments have me stumped – at least for the moment.
I have to relearn a lot of stuff, and re-orient myself to the new environments and I’m finding that summoning the energy necessary is extremely difficult.
If you have any shortcuts to knowledge and understanding for guys like me, I bet you could make a fortune. I can’t be the only one who’s out here struggling..
If I figure something out, I’ll put it here. I’m hoping you’ll do the same.