A Team of One

Although I work at a medium size company, for the past 11 years I have worked in a small department doing both IT and software development. At times I'm almost exclusively programming, other times I'm program about 50% of the time. The frustrating part is that, as a programmer, I work alone. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy building projects from scratch, but I feel like I am missing out on the learning that would come from working on a team with senior developers who could guide me. All my projects are small with hundreds of users, not millions that other developers get to work on. I handle the infrastructure on my own as well. The company setups virtual machines and firewalls for me, and I manage the virtual machines and all required software packages.

The majority of my on-the-job learning came from a research project I've been involved with for the past six years. It is a distributed team where I've had the pleasure of working with a couple software developers and several system admins.

Another source of education has been from school. In the time I've had this job I earned a Bachelors of Science degree and am working on a master's degree.

I am happy in my job, the industry I work in, and with my employer, but I would really like to work on a team of software developers as a learning experience. I enjoy working alone as much as working on a team, I just feel like I am leaving a whole world of experience unexplored. I also don't know where my skills fit in with other developers. Sometimes I meet people and feel like I am way behind or ahead of where they are, but I never really know without working with them.

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