What Have I Learnt About Software Development After I Had a Stroke.

October 26, 20212 minutes to read.

Five years ago, I had a stroke when I was 35 years old. It was a freak accident playing bubble football for my cousin’s stag weekend. At the time, I was a senior developer, and I led 3 Scrum teams for any technical queries and advice. I worked hard, but I quite liked the pace. Countless hours flew by when I worked and connected with my fellow colleagues. I worked from 8:00 until 19:00 frequently. Occasionally, I worked throughout my lunch hour too. Well, not only work, but also I enjoyed as a hobby.

Some of the things I realised after the stroke (obviously it’s my opinion only):

Family first, work second.

I favoured work over family. I have swapped it around now. My first priority is my family. My second priority is software development. Everything else is a lower priority.

Time is the most precious resource you have.

I have fond memories at work in my thirties, but the time flew by. It was a blur, honestly.

Money is a tool.

More money equals more expensive clothes, cars and gadgets. Some say it’s a vicious circle.

Technology is constantly changing.

Programming languages and technology, as a whole, are constantly changing. It would help if you were a learner mindset to keep up-to-date regularly. Be cautious, though; you have to stop somewhere because you will be insane otherwise.

Physical books about software development are out-of-date straightaway.

Physical books about frameworks, concepts and programming languages are out-of-date straightaway, sadly. I prefer to go to YouTube or an official website for up-to-date documentation. For example, Facebook’s React has an excellent website detailing React and the guidelines for that as well. The official website is here. On YouTube, Leigh Halliday is an expert with React and Leigh’s videos are here.

We are replaceable at work.

I thought, naively, I was special helping other developers when they were stuck and generating good code and unit test practices. Don’t get me wrong, though. I had the purpose of empowering and training other developers and writing internal blogs about unit tests and code coverage. But I thought I was special because I worked harder than everyone else. I’m embarrassed to say that’s not true in the slightest!

I still love programming and problem solving, but I relax in the evenings, and my stress levels are below average. Now, I have a balance between work and me-time.


Picture of Andy Bowskill

Written by Andy Bowskill. A software developer with over 10 years of experience.

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