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Programmers' Motivation

Why do some computer programmers and developers become demotivated with and quit high paying jobs? Given that compensation is fair compared to our peers, developers' motivation is driven by three factors (AMP) :
  •  Autonomy
    Developers hate being told what to do, especially if it is an action we consider stupid. We want to feel in control of the decisions affecting our job.

    The solution is not to micromanage. Give developers freedom to make our own decisions. Build a consensus and give developers a voice in the decision making process.

  • Mastery
    Developers fear not being technically relevant because of job security and peer recognition. Developers love learning new skills.

    The solution is to give us opportunities to try new technologies and techniques on the job. Even though it might cause short term pain and slowdown, do not let good developers get stuck in a monotonous routine. "I'm bored" is one of the most devastating and demoralizing phrase we can utter on the job.

  • Purpose
    Developers want our jobs to have meaning and serve a bigger cause. That purpose may be "My software generates $10 million dollars in revenue" or "My code makes people's lives better".  What specific purpose is important to developers depends on our individual personalities.

    The solution is to build a narrative on why we are doing a project. Do not just concentrate on what we are doing and how we are doing it. Give us a grand vision and purpose to our code and our work.
  1. Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  2. RSA Animate video about Drive

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