Manage stress as a Software Engineer

Becoming a software engineer is not a one-size-fits-all process. It really is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication. Because the field of information technology is growing and updating rapidly. New versions are introduced, new technology stacks are introduced, and the entire industry is refreshed from time to time.

For example, when I was starting my career, I had to work with Spring MVC, SOAP web services, JSP & Servlets, Monolithic architecture… etc. But now everything has changed. I know some companies still use legacy technologies. But technology is rapidly growing, introducing new technologies.

Currently, we are working on new technologies & frameworks like Spring Boot, NestJS, NodeJS, ReactJS, Angular, Vue, GraphQL, AI, Blockchain, Serverless architecture, Mini-services & Microservices architecture, Cloud… etc. So sometimes it will be hard to survive in the field because of these rapid changes. Then you may feel like stress and if things gone wrong, you may suffer.

I think you may be aware of suicides all over the world because of the stress. This is a common thing, specially in the Asian region. So I believe it is very important to discuss this. I would like to share some real-world examples. Most of them are my real life experiences, during past years.

What could make you stressed?

Technology and skill gap

For example, you were hired as a back-end developer, but you were assigned tasks with the front-end side and expected an expert level of knowledge. In this case, you may need to learn new things very quickly, adapt to the project, and complete them within the sprint. This will make you stressed.

What can you do in this case? If we are Software Engineers we should have the ability to adapt to new tech stacks. But there should be a grace period to familiarize yourself with it. Very first days you may have difficult days, but day by day you will be familiarized with it. However, you should have an interest on what you are doing.

Sprint planning issues

Sprint planning should be done very carefully, and it is better to proceed with a sensible division of sub-tasks. The RCI (Requirement Clarity Index) should be at the max level before the team proceeds with a story. The story can be split into sub-tasks and they should be simple, clean, and without dependencies. Also, you should pay attention to story points per sprint.

Task estimation is another key point. We can have discussions on Sprint Grooming sessions to understand the whole story and you can further plan them at Sprint Planning meetings to avoid these conflicts. In the Sprint Retro, the team can have a discussion with "What went well, what went wrong, and what to improve". The important thing is Scrum master should have a clear plan to avoid things repeating in "what went wrong".

Time management

You have to be careful with your time management. Before you start your day, before your standup call, you can plan your day. Mind you, you can’t do magic. You may be working from home or working at the office, but you can plan 8 or 9 hours for your dev tasks, meetings, lunch, small breaks, and unexpected issues. Don’t waste your time spending hours on social media. Always try to be productive. 

Sticking hours, or days on a specific task/issue

While you are developing, you may get issues, exceptions, build errors, dependency errors…etc. If you are lagging on these issues will not solve the issues. You need to have a plan to fix the issue asap. First, you can read the console, networks, server logs...etc. Then you can debug, if it is not working you can google it or you can discuss it with your teammate, or then your lead. If it is not possible, you can check it on Stackoverflow or any other community. 

If you are using social media wisely, you can have another opportunity. Some technology experts are active in social media and they are always ready to help us. They will help you if we can connect with them via message or tweet or mention them somehow. 

Some team members

A Team is just various kinds of people with different visions. In IT, a team is just a collection of good souls. But when a Lead, PM, Manager, or anyone else acts in a different manner, it can take a toll on both the head and the team as a whole. It happens when there is a negative-minded, lazy, or mentally disordered person on the team. Overcoming these problems requires teamwork, Team management, or restructuring.

If you still feel bad and if you are getting more stress, I think it is better to leave the team or company. Because your life is not only the job.

You have to use technology that you don't like.

In some cases, you may have to work on some projects with some technologies that you don’t like to work with it. What can you do, if it is not to your taste? You will have to talk and take a decision. Always discussions help us to overcome these kinds of issues.

Working culture and office politics


You must check the working culture before you apply for any job. Because it should match your desired working pattern unless you are willing to adapt to a new routine. You may have to think about a few things as I listed down here.

  • Flexible working culture
  • Flexible hours
  • Working method (On-site, Hybrid, Flexi, WFH, WFA)
  • Career growth
  • Technology stack
  • Company profile
  • The management and office politics.
  • Glassdoor, LinkedIn and other reviews 
  • Events, meetings, other activities… etc.

Before you accept your job offer, it is better to clarify all those things. You can read comments on LinkedIn or check Glassdoor reviews before applying for a job.

Slight misunderstandings

Sometimes you have to be very busy (Eg: on the final days of a sprint) So you will have to work hard, day and night. This will take some stress out there. Your family or spouse must understand the situation, you need their help and support to release your stress. To accomplish this, you need to let your family know why you are busy.

Why do you need to think about the stress?

  • Stress may cause noninfectious diseases and health issues.
  • You will be always unhappy and shouting without a clear reason.
  • It will blow up your mind.
  • Sometimes it will cause family problems.
  • Ruin your career.
  • Unfortunately, it may drag you to suicide.

How to release stress and maintain your work-life balance?

Time management & Planning

As I explained over there, time management is a must. Normally our working hours are going around 8–9 hours. You can balance it like,

  • If you are trying to work for 10–15 hours daily basis without a proper reason, you will miss your life, family, enjoyment, happiness, and all. 
  • Sometimes you may have to work without thinking about hours, when there is a production issue or something, but do not try to make it a habit.

Take breaks

  • Especially in the IT industry, we need to do this. 
  • Working without rest is also the cause of many illnesses. 
  • Sometimes it may cause eyestrain and headache. 
  • You’ll be more productive at work if you can take short breaks during your shift. 

Workspace and devices

  • Your working space needs to be clean, calm, and good-looking.
  • You can select a proper computer chair and table for your height and you need to think about the light conditions too. 
  • Always try to adjust your device's eye comfort.
  • Adjusting the display brightness
  • You can use night mode
  • Take care of the font size.
  • Avoid small monitors.

Use suitable tools, IDEs, platforms, and electronic devices.

  • This may be very funny, but just think if you are a Linux guy, then you will have to work with Windows. 
  • It takes some time to change your mind and change your habits. 
  • Just think you have to work on a VM, then you have to be very patient because performance might be low. 

Do your job just to live, don't live for jobs

  • Your work is very important, no arguments. 
  • But the work is meaningless if you suffer. 
  • Currently, due to the COVID crisis, there are many job opportunities in the IT industry. 
  • So try to find the right one without turning your life upside down.

Talk to Teammates, the Lead, HR, or the Manager

  • You can talk to any of the team members, the Lead, HR, or the Manager if you are facing any uncomfortable situation when you are working at the office. 
  • It may be related to workload, shift issues, salary issues, technology-related issues, or whatever.
  • Don't be silent. 
  • If you are silent, that means you are fighting against yourself. 
  • However, if you cannot find the solution at the Managerial level, I think it is better to leave the company.
  • Another important thing is before you leave, you may find another job, otherwise, the resignation will make you more stressed.

Gardening or farming

  • This is a great and very effective method for releasing stress and calming down. 
  • On the other hand, you can earn some extra bucks, if you are doing it properly. 
  • For example, you have a family garden and plant your basic daily needs like some veggies and fruits. 
  • If you want to do more, you can build a greenhouse and plant something so that you can start a side business. 
  • Apart from the initial effort, no extra effort is needed since it is a greenhouse. 

Blogging & writing

  • If you like to write, you can use your time to write something. 
  • Create a blog, Medium, or any other way. 
  • Sometimes you will be able to earn some extra bucks too.

Be with your family

  • Family is nothing but your whole world. 
  • Try to be with your kids, spouse, parents, siblings, or relations as much as you can. 
  • It will make memorable moments forever and your stress will fly away. 
  • Some people would like to own a pet. 

Don’t be silent, just talk, and be social.

  • If you have a problem, feel stressed, or feel upset, don’t think you are alone. 
  • You can talk with your family, and friends or you can discuss on relevant Social Media. 
  • Then others will identify your matter and they will try to help you as much as they can. 
  • Never hide your stress, because sometimes it may cause suicide

Play a game, have a picnic and enjoy yourself with friends.

  • No need for explanations, these are very common things.

Take a well-balanced diet.

  • Your diet will make you healthy. 
  • I am not a diet specialist to talk more about this. 
  • But you can take your diet on time without avoiding it. 
  • And also always try to take a well-balanced diet. 

Do exercises.

  • This is a general thing that makes you happy & healthy. 
  • Because we sit for hours in front of the laptop. 
  • Our body requires movements and some change. 
  • We can have a specific time to do daily exercises and it will help to protect us from noninfectious diseases like diabetes, blood pressure…etc.

Get enough sleep

  • This is very important. 
  • Because most Software Engineers are night workers, they like to work at night and have coffee and so on. 
  • Actually, this depends on your client or your shift. 
  • But always try to have enough sleep for at least 6hrs to 8 hrs.
  • Some Chinese companies offer nap time during working time which is very productive. 


There are some key points to think about. 

  • A better Time Management Plan.
  • Accept your needs & changes.
  • Always be positive.
  • Do not fear to take decisions. 

Manage stress as a Software Engineer Manage stress as a Software Engineer Reviewed by Ravi Yasas on 8:27 AM Rating: 5

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