Take a moment to think about what kind of software projects you’ve found yourself working on during the past few months. Is it making someone else’s job easier? In it’s own way, is it helping make the world a little better place? Do you enjoy it? Are you doing it for the money? Would you choose to do it if you were just starting out? Most programmers I know don’t ask themselves these questions.
It’s good to make a pause at some point and really think through your career decisions. If you haven’t already, do some serious research and pick the technologies you’d like to work with, and also an area (or areas) on which you’d like to specialize (for example, the health industry).
I recognize it’s easy to go with the flow and find yourself (almost mindlessly) working your way through several tasks you don’t enjoy anymore. If you think you’re in this position, you probably need to make a change. I landed my first job as a professional web developer because that’s what I knew and enjoyed at the time. Six years later (and about 12 years since I wrote my first line of code) I’m still having a blast learning and mastering new technologies. I recognize I could’ve learned faster by making a conscious effort to guide my career path and carefully choosing the technologies and industries I would like to work in.
So far I’ve found the challenges I need to become better and enjoy my work. Recently I joined a company where I’m surrounded by like-minded individuals who are striving to be better everyday.