I saw your post while I was searching about disc problems as I have a problem in my L5/S1 disc - disc protrusion - I have done 2 's (three years ago - and three months ago)
I have to say that I am in a situation like you one in some way - I have switched my job (actually) developed my job from a site engineer to a design engineer - sitting for 10 or 11 hours to the computer disk (couple of years ago) - and now I am in my long sick leave (it is even unpaid).
I am fine now after treatment - no pain or very little pain (no need to take any medications for that ) - but that because I am not doing that type of effort.
I have a post that explained my past pain experience - and I was a semi-disabled one.
I am not a doctor or physio - but I have visited two - very professional orthoppedic surg. (MD holders) - they both expressed that surgery is the last treatment option according to my criteria - and they should give other treatments : medications, physio, weight loss, ... enough time - at least 6-8 weeks.
From my own experince - you can recover completely - but take care - you have to handle your back problem with care - do exrecises (prescribed to you by a physio) - do weight loss (if you are over weight) - follow your doctor advice.
Finally, needless to say - if you have an opportunity to find a more suitable job to your back and I mean it : suitable for your back - go for it. This is not only for the current situation - it is for the next 20 yaers - when you're 50+.
Hope that I was able to help.