A collection of Joel Chippindale's infrequent reckons

What motivates software engineers?

There is a common stereotype that software engineers are primarily motivated by the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology.

Falling for this stereotype can lead to a sense of helplessness about motivating engineers because, “we can’t introduce cutting-edge technology here”. Or, even worse, the introduction of a new technology solely to satisfy this assumption.

In my experience, just like other people, engineers have a diverse range of motivations. These extend well beyond technology.

To understand what motivates the engineers that you work with you need to ask them. What are they most proud of? What energises them? What motivates them? What do they find most rewarding? What does a fulfilling day at work look like for them?

It is also valuable to ask about factors that demotivate and frustrate them, as reducing these can have a significant impact on their motivation.

What are key motivations for the engineers that you work with? Ask them and you will find out.

This is part of a series of articles about Engineering Leadership. I offer coaching and mentoring to engineering leaders if you are interested in further developing your leadership skills.

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Questions or feedback

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