Cognitive Load and the effect on Technical Workers


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It's common to hear "everything is so complicated nowadays" followed by a list of common tech industry scapegoats. Kubernetes, front end frameworks, microservices, "hip" technologies. It's a relatable reaction but beyond being cathartic it's a little off the mark. This feeling boils down to a real increase in cognitive load - and not cognitive load in terms just dealing with increasingly heavy frameworks.
To better understand the problem, it pays to talk more holistically about cognitive load as it exists between different disciplines, experience levels, and contexts. We have to acknowledge it as a combination of technical, organizational, and psychological issues if we want to get a start on managing it. We may not have definitive solutions but there are a few adjustments to your way of thinking that can be helpful to those in the trenches.

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