Apprenticeship Patterns: Sustainable Motivations

This week, I would like to discuss the “Sustainable Motivations” pattern. This pattern explains that professional software developers often must work on messy projects with unclear specifications and conflicting demands. Such chaotic projects are exhausting and frustrating to work on, which can cause developers to lose their motivation to pursue software craftsmanship. The pattern’s solution emphasizes that developers need motivations that will adapt to the difficulties presented by these projects. Developers should have multiple sources of motivation so that, when is damaged by an infuriating situation, they will have other reasons to push through their frustration until the situation gets better. The pattern recommends writing down our different sources of motivation to help us understand which are the most important. When we find ourselves loosing the desire to continue developing software, we can refer back to this list to remind us why we should continue.

As I have explained in my past couple posts on Apprenticeship Patterns, I have really been struggling with motivation over the last few years. Many software-related projects I have worked on during college have been exhausting, frustrating, or unclear. I found it difficult to complete such projects because I simply couldn’t find the effort to work on them. This pattern resonated with me because it focuses on this very issue. I especially relate to the second bulleted example given by the solution, which describes a developer whose main motivation is their enjoyment of programming. For me, this was the main reason I decided to pursue software development, and it has been discouraging to feel that enjoyment dwindle.

However, the developer in the example continued programming due to financial motivations despite a loss of passion, and they eventually regained their love for programming. Similarly, I have continued to pursue software development because of my desire to finish college. I’ve never really considered my education to be a reason to program, but in retrospect it has clearly been my main motivation for the past several years. Clearly, reading this pattern has helped me think differently about my motivations. I’ve always thought my enjoyment of programming was the only motivator I had, but I now realize that other factors, like finishing college and gaining experience, have actually been motivating me more. Hopefully, these other motivators keep pushing me to continue programming until I am able to regain my passion for it.

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