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Top 10 Reasons For Developer Burnout & Ready Solutions to Prevent It

March 30, 2023


min read

Valentine Steph

Top 10 Reasons For Developer Burnout & Ready Solutions to Prevent It

The developers you work with show signs of burnout, and you don't know what to do to prevent that? In this article, you’ll find the most common reasons behind developer burnout. Just pick your case in the list below and get a ready-to-use solution to your problem.

Reasons for burnout

It’s crucial to learn why developers can get burned out in the first place. That way, you can stop it from happening from the start. Here are the top reasons behind developer burnout and best practices and tools to solve these issues.

To catch the early signs of developer burnout - read Developer Burnout Can Be a Serious Issue. Here Is How to Spot It.

#1. Monotonous work and meaningless tasks

Is being a software engineer tedious? Is web development boring? It absolutely can be! Sitting in front of the screen all day, with few breaks for food and sleep, makes it hard to stay productive.

Solution: To avoid boredom from coding all day, implement a growth plan tool in your team’s practice.

A sense of professional stagnation can be a real downer for software engineers and lead to developer depression. Fortunately, a well-thought-out growth plan can help fix that. Not only can it provide employees with opportunities and direction for increasing their skills, but it can also shed light on how to manage programmers.

Growth plan to prevent burnout
Ace’s growth plan

#2. Unmanageable workload

When workload matches capacity, developers can effectively get their work done and take time for rest. When work-life balance suffers, it negatively affects all aspects of life — personal and professional. Preventing employee burnout is crucial here.

Solution: One-on-one meetings on the workload help a manager notice if a developer got stuck with a task and solve the issues he or she may experience with it, or help review deadlines and priorities.

To make the 1:1 on workload more effective, pick the one-on-one meeting agenda and prevent workload-related issues.

Weekly one on one
Weekly 1:1 meeting template

#3. Remote work and isolation

The pandemic has crept into so many aspects of our lives, exaggerating existing anxieties as well as creating new stressors and challenges for us to navigate. And while developers may have to isolate themselves from others, the symptoms of burnout they’re experiencing are typical given these abnormal circumstances.

Solution: One-on-one meetings provide a chance to establish better relationships between subordinates and supervisors. These weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly interactions allow discussion of productivity and the employee’s overall impact on the organization. Personal meetings are also helpful in building trustful relationships in the team and catch the early signs of developer burnout.

Ace created 1:1 meetings templates where developers can have meetings more often. Developers can spend less time alone and devote their energy towards creative projects that they enjoy working on together.

One on one meeting agenda
Monthly 1:1 meeting template

#4. Lack of feedback

Many developers who experience burnout symptoms are so used to the feeling that they start accepting it as usual. Do you know how many hours a software developer works? Tons, and sometimes it’s frustrating not to know whether work done is good, sufficient, or just plain bad.

Solution: The practice of writing reviews about your developer's work is not new. It helps highlight the best and the worst about the employee’s performance, evaluate the skills and give an employee constructive and professional feedback.

To make the review process easy and fast, as well as to give your team a professional assessment that will encourage them to grow professionally, try Ace skill review with 50+ tech role templates.

How to write review
Ace’s review

#5. Lack of recognition or reward for good work

Many developers who excel are never given a pat on the back or even an acknowledgment. This feeling of not being recognized is incredibly demoralizing and exhausting, which can lead to burnout after prolonged periods. It's important to remember employees for good work by giving them awards when they deserve it!

Solution: There are two main practiсes that help to solve this issue.

The first one is the growth plan which we have mentioned earlier. And the second one is a career path. Developing a transparent programmer roadmap helps an employee gain all necessary skills and understand what he or she should do in order to get a promotion and be rewarded for good work.

Ace helps create career paths for 50+ tech roles and allows engineering managers to track each member’s progression to pick the right moment for promotion or change the career.

career path
Ace’s career path for 50+ tech roles

#6. Unclear career expectations

Developers, who are the backbone of a company and among the most overworked people in all industries, suffer from an unclear career path. This lack of vision means they have no idea what their next step is going to be, which leads them to question their worth within an organization. The result? Again, burnout.

Solution: A career path is a series of benchmarks that map an employee's route from a lower-level position through successive occupations to arrive at their ultimate goal.

The best way to boost employee engagement is by investing in your employees' careers. A career path gives them a sense of progress, which will help feel more supported and which will bolster their commitment to their work.

Check Ace’s career path templates...

Ace’s skillset

#7. Lack of skills or knowledge

Insufficient skills or knowledge inevitably leads to stress and, if left unchecked, eventually programmer burnout. The problem especially concerns knowledge workers and those working in the tech industry because everything’s changing very fast and you should always keep your finger on the pulse.

Solution: To help your employees get relevant skills and stay in demand as specialists, create growth plans inside your company. It not only helps to evaluate their skills and create a personal development plan but also increases engagement and loyalty to the company.

Check ready-to-use action plans by Ace to save your time:

Action plan
Ace’s action plans

#8. Unclear goals

How can you manage programmers who don't know your long-term business goals, and thereby probably also their own goals with the company? Unfortunately, it’s common for devs to burn out at work in the current workplace environment if goals are unclear. This might be due in part to a lack of well-defined business objectives.

Solution: The simple but powerful OKR system is a means of achieving all your company's goals and objectives. It helps avoid burnout in the workplace. The teams can use team-level objectives to work together efficiently while individual objectives motivate each member on the team to go beyond their previous expectations.

Ace features easy-to-understand, no-fuss OKR plan templates that will tremendously boost the efficiency of your work and your team's work.

Ace’s OKR plan

#9. Getting paid too little, or too much

Feeling underestimated and getting no relevant appraisal for your job for a long time inevitably leads to a decrease in motivation. This point doesn’t need any comments.

What’s less obvious is that being paid too much can also lead to frustration (and burnout) since an employee may feel pressure due to high expectations. He or she may think they are underqualified for this job and are unable to meet the requirements. That’s called an imposter syndrome which doesn’t lead to effective work at all.

Solution: Clear career paths help a manager and employees adequately evaluate the skills and get an understanding of why each member takes their job position and what she or he can do to get a promotion.

To make this process easy and transparent, try Ace’s career path tool.

Career path
Ace’s career path

#10. Work-life Imbalance

We already talked about unmanageable workloads above. These can definitely cause a work-life balance to suffer and trigger intense burnout pretty fast.

Solution: Sometimes, the best way to recharge is by hanging out with colleagues whose company you enjoy.

For example, it might be nice to spend two hours every week with positive workmates simply to unwind and recharge. This helps boost morale and can certainly prevent burnout!

Try organizing some sports activities like morning yoga or attending running marathons together with your teammates. Social activities may also work, for example: celebrating small victories, highlighting employees’ birthdays, a strategic retreat for a few days. Feel free to use your imagination and ask your colleagues what they enjoy outside work.

Key ideas

  • Developers have high-stress jobs and tight deadlines, which may lead to burnout. As mentioned, other causes of this include lack of work-life balance and low employee morale.
  • The best way to avoid burnout is by implementing a good development process that includes frequent feedback from developers about how they're feeling throughout the project lifecycle and make your employees feel that they make a personal contribution to the common goals.
  • There are effective tools that help you to boost employee engagement by improving their professional development and happiness level. Choose the tools that suit your team the most and use ready solutions to save your time.


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