How to overcome the feelings of isolation working as a software developer ?

Social Diversity

Created on: October 28, 2017

Updated on: October 28, 2017

As software developers, there are different types of environments that we work while we offer our web development services and there will be times in which we feel isolated and marginalised.

We will discuss these feelings of isolation and what can be done to overcome these feelings of isolation.

What is isolation?

Social isolation is defined as

a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects a temporary lack of contact with other humans.

Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, though symptoms may differ by age group.

Social isolation has similar characteristics in both temporary instances and for those with a historical lifelong isolation cycle.

All types of social isolation can include staying home for lengthy periods of time, having no communication with family, acquaintances or friends, and/or wilfully avoiding any contact with other humans when those opportunities do arise.

Why does this happen?

Software developers appear to be in a unique situation in which social isolation can appear say, when contracted to provide web development services within teams, or it can occur when you work from home.

The reasons for this are complex but one of the main reasons for this is because of the single responsibility principle.

This includes the fact that we have to scan through code, analyse the code and rectify the code by fixing those problems.

When you work as part of a group you are assigned web development services tasks such as bug scrubbing meaning that you have to fix the problems with your code and others.

What are the effects of isolation?

If you work within a large corporation your work can effectively be done within a silo.

If we were to use the above silo analogy

You can think of a silo as an underground tunnel in which you store your grain for example.

This means that you become very focused on one thing and you then don't see the complete structure and architecture of the entire organisation.

This means in the area of UX design and development you don't see how a customer is using a product. You are only concerned with how your particular component fits in to the picture.

Therefore if there is a change to the way you work you will be extremely resistant to this change and you will do everything you can to stifle change.

There are other effects such as

  1. Social ineptitude
  2. Cognitive decline
  3. Egotism
  4. Arrogance
  5. Narcissism

What type of person are you?

There are a number of successful programmers who learnt their craft working by themselves and for themselves.

We won't assume that these people are naturally introverted, we all come in different shapes and sizes and there are outgoing individuals who enjoy working alone and they may have external stimuli to help guide them along.

Introverts tend to build their craft themselves and they draw energy from themselves during this process.

Whilst extroverted people source their energy from others whilst they are building their craft.

Ambiverts are people who have a balance of both introvert and extrovert traits.

We all have different emotional and physical needs and the first step is to work out what type of person you are.

All of the above mentioned traits exist within a spectrum.

In my case I am more of an Ambivert with some extroversion. This means that I like to draw energy from meeting and working with other people. And I enjoy working in solitary environment as well as they help to empower working relationships.

How do you build solid relationships whilst working in isolation?

Over the past few years I have worked hard at building working relationships with people from a variety of occupations. I enjoy meeting and greeting people and I must admit networking in my case has been very rewarding.

This has included attending workshops and hackathons, these are great opportunities to expand and develop your networking skills and showcase your web development services skill set.

I attend the codebar workshops on the odd occasion so that I can build relationships with people who are mastering their craft.

How to build meaningful lasting relationships?

I have built meaningful and lasting friendships with enablers such as Bybreen Samuels, she has been inspirational enabler who works tirelessly to bring people together in the world of tech and within other professional areas.

I have a part time job in which I meet customers in their own homes.

This helps you to empathise and relate to customers who are using your service offering; be it web development services or otherwise, because you are able to put yourself in other people’s shoes.

It has been very experiential and you are able listen to customers over time and you are also able to spot the odd customer who can take advantage of situations.

As time goes on you establish trust and they are able and willing to have very frank conversations about their lives.

It is these conversations that help to build long lasting relationships and I am very grateful to be able to have long lasting bonds with my customers.

Marginalisation within a team environment

Being part of a team does have its pluses and negatives, you can be within a team and you may have one person who is overpowering.

For example, in every single meeting these people have to have the last word on everything.

Or someone can intimidate you at certain stages within your career. Or you could be unfortunate to work with a serial narcissist where they are able to humiliate you in front of the whole team.

It is very important that you confront this kind of behaviour before it starts to denigrate your working life and affect the quality of your web development services work as an instance.

What is marginalisation?

Marginalisation is defined as:

To relegate or confine to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing.

How do you resolve this?

It’s very important that you meet the person who is causing this and make it clear that you are not going to put up with this.

And it’s essential that you provide an ultimatum to send a clear message to this person that there will be consequences for their actions.

This will go to some way to de-escalating the situation, however we will be examining this in great detail in an up and coming blog post called:

Why do some organisations have an empathy deficit when it comes to building working relationships?