Le pire piège dans lequel tombent les développeurs (et comment l’éviter)

The worst trap developers fall into

When I was a kid, I wanted to make video games. One day, I went to see my mother to tell her the news. She immediately told me that “if you want to, you can”. The kind of sentence you forget very quickly when you grow up. 15 years later, I was doing everything but video games. I was doing the same API in PHP over and over again. I thought that making video games was unattainable. I thought that doing anything other than that API was unattainable. I had become a developer locked in an imaginary prison. Locked in my limiting thoughts. Like most developers.


Time flies when you’re doing the same thing all the time. It’s terrifying. And it’s accelerating exponentially.

The first time I was taught programming in a school setting, I learnt it on paper. It wasn’t a real language. The teacher called it “pseudo-code”. Algorithms.

I thought it was absurd.

I’m here to learn a job where I’m going to spend 99% of my time typing a programming language on a screen. Why don’t they teach me that? Why do they make me work on paper? It was boring the hell out of me. All I wanted to do was get to the heart of the matter.

At that point, I didn’t realize how much I was already in the thick of it.

It just didn’t look like what I imagined.

A few years later, I started my first job. You know what a sick obsession I had with PHP. I never explained exactly why this obsession.

It had nothing to do with the technology. It had nothing to do with its ease of use, its flexibility or its community. No matter how many times I told everyone that, it wasn’t the real reason.

It was because of another very specific reason.

A reason that drove me crazy.

The definition of insanity

Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is ?

Insanity is, doing exactly the same thing over and over again, excepting shit to change. That is crazy.

The first time somebody told me that, I thought it was bullshit.

I’ve moved on.

And then I started to analyze what I was doing. I began to realize what an endless loop I was in. For years, I wasted my time doing the same things. From the most trivial thing to the most important thing.

I would run the tests without changing the code and complain that it didn’t work. I would do the same API and complaining that I wasn’t learning anything. I would stay at the same company -which refused to give me a raise- and complained that I didn’t earn anything.

I wasn’t doing anything to make video games and I was always complaining about not making video games.

And then I started seeing it everywhere I looked. Everywhere I looked devs in the same infinite loop. Devs, who despite excellent skills, were tragically self-sabotaging every day.

I’ve seen developers voluntarily lock themselves into a domain or a language despite their desire to do something else. I’ve seen devs accept ridiculous salaries despite their more than excellent level. I’ve seen devs being exploited to the point of burnout and still staying in the same place. I’ve seen devs turn down job offers because they lack a technology.

And how could I make fun of them when I was doing exactly the same thing?

The imaginary prison

We are in one of the most sought-after, best-paid jobs with the most freedom. We have the knowledge to go anywhere. To do everything.

Yet we remain locked in an imaginary prison.

Why did I spend so much time in the same place when I wanted something else? Why do so many devs do exactly what I do? The answer is simple.

We are convinced that it is too hard to do something else or simply to evolve.

And that’s the biggest trap that developers fall into. We spend our time hearing that everything is very complex and very difficult in programming. Whether it’s getting into it or evolving within it.

So, paralyzed by the fear of not being up to the task, you stay tied up.

And that’s the worst trap, because it conditions everything you do.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from, what you do or where you want to go. If you are convinced in your head that you are limited, you will be limited. You are conditioned by your limiting thoughts.

It’s a trap that can destroy your entire career if you’re not careful.

And there are plenty of reasons why this trap exists. The most important one is the endless stream of elitist talk, whether it comes from your colleagues or from content creators. And I’m really sick of hearing the same assholes trying to convince us that everything is impossible.

I have good news for you.

You are a dev

You are not limited. You are not limited by language, by area of expertise or by company. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.

Especially not yourself.

You want to change your speciality? Become a freelance nomad? Work for Google? Or simply change jobs? Yes it’s possible if you put the means to it.

I would like to save you years of unnecessary suffering and stagnation. You are a dev. You’re not a Javascript, React, Python, Java or whatever dev. You are not your company either.

You are a dev.

You are a problem solver. Your tool is code. Your method is a logical sequence of operations and instructions. You know, the algorithms I told you about at the beginning. If you master this logic, you master everything.

The rest is a wall of syntax and specific rules that you learn on the job.

Once you understand and truly integrate this, suddenly many doors open. Beliefs that have become as solid as walls start to crack. And behind those walls, you realize that you can do anything.

It’s time to take control of your career.

  • I will never be good at multiple languages and/or technologies

You have gained some kind of expertise in your first language after a long time and a lot of trouble. So you are convinced that making a switch will be as long as it is dangerous. It seems logical.

This is not true.

What you need to understand is that the speed of learning and mastering a language or technology is exponential to your experience. With a little bit of experience, you understand things much faster. Learning your second language is incredibly faster than the first.

The problem is not doing it, but just getting started.

  • There is too much to learn

Learning is like sport. The more you learn, the easier and faster it becomes to learn. The problem is that the opposite is even more true.

It’s the same for everyone, without exception.

Moreover, it is useless and impossible to learn everything. You have to identify in advance what you need and practice it regularly. Everything quickly becomes less impressive when you do things intelligently and over time.

With the right habits, the right technique -and a little time- any developer can change everything they do every day.

The problem is not doing it, but just getting started.

  • I am unable to get out of my comfort zone

The goal is not really to get out of your comfort zone. The goal is to expand it. You’re doing the same job, it’s just the context that’s different.

Those who think they can’t do it compare themselves too much.

They compare themselves to others, and to what they were before. I don’t want to get into philosophy, but I think there is a discussion to have with yourself when this feeling goes too far. Don’t forget that your impostor syndrome is a great tool.

Not only can you expand that comfort zone, but you will discover that you are capable of much more.

The problem is not doing it, but just getting started.

  • I can’t make more money with what I do

The value of what you do is subjective to the company that employs you. In this job market -with several years of experience-, you are in a position of strength. Therefore, the questions to ask yourself are different.

The question is not: should I earn more? The question is: why doesn’t this company pay me more? I already talked about this in the article about money.

I am very often stunned by the difference in salary between two devs who do exactly the same thing.

How can these differences be explained? In one sentence: fortune favors the bold. Those who do not hesitate to take risks when they feel they deserve more clearly stand out from the crowd.

The problem is not doing it, but just getting started.

  • It’s hard and it takes time


I never said it was quick and easy. I said it was possible.

The problem is not doing it, but just getting started.

Anyway, I could go on and on like this. You see where I’m going with this. You’re going to have to take a leap of faith sooner or later if you want to take control.

If you can make this change of mindset, it will impact your career, but also more globally your life. I know, I lived it. And I remember very well the day I started.

I am a dev

After many years of being stuck, I was exhausted. Exhausted from my stagnation despite my hard work and sacrifices. I finally realized that the solution had to come from me.

So I started to teach myself every day. With my very specific and perfectly oiled learning system. A perfect balance between free time and time invested for the future.

A system that will be central in my next contents.

I started using unknown technologies on a daily basis. I immediately realized that it wasn’t that complicated. Gradually, with time and practice, my comfort zone grew.

So much so that I realized that I could tackle any subject. It was possible to get something on the screen pretty quickly. And without a single line of my comfort technology.

I am a dev. Not a dev limited by a context.

That’s when I took the biggest leap of faith in my life. I sold everything I had in my apartment. I took a one-way plane and went to Canada.

I had to go hard mode.

I was so confident in my abilities that I had no plan. No job, no apartment, no one to go to and only a few thousand euros in an account.

I had one thing.

The conviction that I was going to succeed thanks to the knowledge I had accumulated by working a little every day.

The week I arrived, I sent out two resumes. The next week I was hired at a video game giant. Instantly, I doubled my salary, working outside my comfort zone.

My comfort zone? I quickly forgot about it. In a few weeks I was up and running. In a few months I was completely up to speed. In less than a year, I dominated every aspect of my job.

But that wasn’t enough for me.

I still wasn’t working on a video game. I was working on internal tools for this video game giant. That wasn’t my dream job as a kid.

So I continued to work and learn new things. Every day, a little bit, my little habits. My famous system that I kept improving. Sometimes a few minutes, sometimes several hours. It’s huge in a month. Imagine over a year.

I had been doing this for years at that point.

I brought more and more value. I moved up the internal levels. I didn’t hesitate to do multiple teams. I learned DevOps tools, Python, C++. I built things and brought results.

Today, I work directly on a video game.

In the meantime, my salary has increased again. Big time. Many times over. Doing my kid’s dream job. This situation seemed simply impossible to me a few years ago.

I couldn’t have done anything if I hadn’t gotten out of my imaginary prison.

I have no recommendations for you today. No book or resource I know of is going to help you get out of your personal prison. Only you can decide to get out.


When I was a kid, I wanted to make video games. One day I called my mom and told her I was making video games. If I can achieve my goals, anyone can do it. You just have to work with the right system on a regular basis. And we’re going to be talking a lot about that in the next few months.

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I'm a dev. Right now i'm Backend Developer / DevOps in Montreal. Dev is one of my passions and I write as I speak. I talk to you daily on my Twitter. You can insult me at this e-mail or do it directly in the comments below. There's even a newsletter !

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