The majority of my work over the last three years has largely been around maintaining legacy systems that needed patching up or the occasional revamp before being sold again.
I understand the critical role dedicated maintenance programmers have to play in companies with a large number of projects and limited developers on hand.
But as I judge my current career progress and look at my peers; contractors and corporate developers alike; I do feel as if I am lagging far behind since I've gained a great deal of breadth in terms of the areas I've touched but not much depth. I've begun to address this by starting a blog, working on my own little git-hub projects and rescheduling my life to have time to do personal coding after work on a regular basis.
I feel that were I to interview at other companies to escape maintenance work I would have to represent myself as being quite junior in skill level since I would not have the depth of level of knowledge required of a person with three years experience focused on a particular path in feature development would. So half my current work experience would count for naught in the long run.
But this leads me to my main questions, apologies if this feels too centered around my personal dilemma,:
Do dedicated maintenance programming roles end up being detrimental to an early career? Are other programmers right to avoid roles like these? Does doing this line of work lock you into doing similar tasks unless you're prepared to start over as a junior?