Software Engineers: Confidence Matters Just as Much as Ability

Chase Douglas

Software engineering is a skilled task; those who obtain the experience and credentials necessary to become engineers know this, as do their employers. Engineers have an overarching goal of using these skills to construct experiences that enable end-users to complete a task successfully and they hope to provide enjoyment and comfort along the way.

Anyone who has written software used by a decent number of people knows how daunting this task is.

Because of the skill required in software engineering, we innately want to evaluate our own abilities against everyone else's. Add in the fact that many engineers develop an inferiority complex (our industry has had a historical bad habit of making this worse through activities like incident post-mortem blaming) and it's not hard to find teams of engineers who do not feel confident in their ability to ship software effectively.

What is the result of this complex? What happens when we don't feel confident in our abilities to do a task well? We tend to do the bare minimum to complete the task and move on to other things we do better; this is true in any industry.

In the cloud application development world, the bare minimum may mean constructing an app that meets functionality criteria but does not meet scalability, high-availability, or security needs. Unfortunately, these flaws can be just as problematic as functional problems, if not more so.

Solving the hardest software problems we face usually means adopting the best architectural patterns available. Today, that means adopting "serverless" approaches that handle a lot of scalability and high availability concerns for you.

However, adopting the latest best practices in any field requires a certain amount of confidence. There are fewer examples to follow and fewer people you can lean on to help. You might start to notice the negative feedback loop here: a lack of confidence leads to a fear of adopting newer and better practices. This, in turn, leads to struggling with outdated systems, which leads to an even deeper lack of confidence.

As you can see, feelings of inadequacy significantly impact innovation, equaling big problems for engineers.

How can we break this cycle? Something has to change to prevent one of the steps in this negative feedback loop. Congrats to you if you find a way to magically instill more confidence or eliminate the resulting problems without changing your approach. But if you're looking for a more realistic mechanism, it helps to evaluate how you can lower the fear of adopting new best practices.

One significant way to reduce the fear of adopting new techniques is by using tools that ensure you do it right from the beginning. In the case of serverless, you need tools to help you construct all the individual managed services together to build a complete application. You need tools to ensure your security permissions are scoped correctly for each compute resource. You need tools to manage environments and deployment processes. That's what we do here at Stackery.

One of our customers put it succinctly when they adopted Stackery to modernize an older monolithic application:

"Stackery made it simple to identify and use new AWS services that would have been more intimidating to learn on our own. The biggest help has been in managing our expansive GraphQL services using AWS AppSync and Lambda."

Confidence matters just as much as ability. We see this same sentiment across our customer base.

Stackery instills confidence in teams by allowing them to place more focus on the things they enjoy and set out to tackle when they became engineers. This freedom enables them to achieve greater success in building their applications.

We want you to experience continuous boost in your serverless confidence and the amazing things you can build because of it. Try Stackery for free today

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