The care and feeding of developers

Dear new developer,

I thought this post from 2012, about what software developers want, was penetrating and relevant. This passage resonated for me:

And here’s the real crux of the problem: software engineers aren’t builders. Software engineers are creators. Building is what you do when you buy a piece of furniture from Ikea and get it home. The instructions are laid out and if you go step by step, you’ll get that comically small table you wanted. Creating is a different process, it’s birthing something without direction or instruction. It’s starting with a blank canvas and painting a masterpiece. Software engineers don’t get into coding because they want someone to tell them what to do, they get into it because they discovered they could create something useful. Every single software engineer fell in love with coding because she made a small, useful program early on and was hooked.

Even as a new developer, you’re constantly making small creative decisions (naming a variable, for example). This is part of what makes software development so fulfilling and fun. Any place where you are solely an order taker with no opportunity to add your unique perspective is a place I wouldn’t want to work. (Such a place would remind me of L. Bob Rife’s plans. And if you haven’t read Snow Crash, highly recommended.)

The whole post, “The care and feeding of software engineers (or, why engineers are grumpy)”, is worth a read.

Sincerely,

Dan

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