You’ll always be learning

Dear new developer,

One thing I love about software development is that you’ll always be learning. This is because of two things.

First, there’s better and different hardware. It is possible that this pace will subside sometime, but looking at the variety of new computing hardware, sensors and components that have been created over the last 60 or so years gives me confidence that we’re at the beginning of computing becoming a utility, just like electricity. This is one of my favorite essays on the topic. This new hardware gives rise to new capabilities. Just like GPS in the phone gave rise to Lyft and Uber, I think that small connected sensors everywhere will give rise to new companies and software development opportunities.

The other reason why you’ll always be learning is that software itself is evolving. This is a very young profession. I believe at some point it’ll be as established and systematic as, say, civil engineering, but I think that’ll be decades if not longer in the future. That means that practices and tools are continuing to evolve. They both take advantage of new hardware, of practices learnt from other disciplines, and of lessons as systems are built. I already gave you an example of the first, but an example of practices lifted from other areas of knowledge is chaos/resilience engineering. An example of the last lesson is containerization and immutable infrastructure.

If you choose to be a developer, your career will be filled with learning. Enjoy.

Sincerely,

Dan

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