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Cover image for Why people say "It is easy for you, you’re a developer"

Why people say "It is easy for you, you’re a developer"

damnjan profile image Damnjan Jovanovic Updated on ・4 min read

The typical cliche about being software developer is that “Being DEV is easy”.

That’s something every developer heard at least once. Usually, it refers to five main “it is easy for you” announcements:

  1. It is easy for you to find a job
  2. It is easy for you to build that website/software/hack, you are developer after all
  3. It is easy for you to work remotely
  4. It is easy for you to get a lot of money for little work
  5. It is easy for you to change a job

It is easy for you to find a job

Why do people think like that?

This is cliche which coming with the fact that one who observe job markets anywhere in the world, can come to the conclusion that there is a huge deficit of software developers and other IT-related workers.

Is this true?

Well, numbers do not lie, there is a high demand for programmers, database admins, operational persons, designers, etc. But, as always, there is a catch. If there is just matter of a number of people, one can easily come to the conclusion that you can convert/educate already existing working power from other sectors and let them fill the gap in IT. In reality, it is not that easy. IT education needs time + practice and not everyone has a desire to dive into programming.

It is easy for you to build software

Why do people think like that?

What people see on the website is a bunch of images and text, on desktop apps they see buttons, similar to mobile apps. All the details, CSS transitions, tricks and behavior for each button, resizing of images for website, loading scripts and fonts, they don’t see it, or they get it as common sense. They totally expect that links on webpage change when they hover, they don’t know that someone has to define that.

Is this true?

I really don’t have to deep dive into this one. Anyone who ever tried to write a piece of software knows it is not easy, it is fun, but not easy like just say to the computer what you want in your native language. The problem comes when this has to be explained to the customer, who denies accepting complex background of something he considers so easy

It is easy for you to work remotely

Why do people think like that?

It is not uncommon to see a developer in a cafe or hotel with the laptop while they actually fulfill daily tasks. Many people connect home/hotel/cafe with relaxation and office/factory with stress, so they assume that, if you can move your work to home/hotel/cafe it can be more relaxing and fun.

Is this true?

A lot of people see only fun there, which is not far away from true. On the other hand, the disadvantage of working remotely is that agile teams are very hard to manage remotely, there is nothing as efficient as face to face conversation. The second problem there is a distraction. In office can be a lot of distraction but for sure not as much as in beach bar or some fun city you currently staying in. The third one is the lack of procedures, being in the office keep you always sharp, it means you have to dress, you have to behave, you have to interact with other people and respect their needs. None of this applies to the home office, for example, you can stay in your underwear, you can sing loud, fart, and eat the whole bowl of chips, you don’t have to excuse to anyone in the privacy of your own room.

It is easy for you to be well paid for no work

Why do people think like that?

If you go back to the second point, you might already experience that people do not perceive programming as something hard, rather than something geeks do, for fun. On the other hand, people see that average software developer salary is higher than most of the other professions (plus with benefits from point 3).

Is this true?

Partially yes. Programmers are well paid due to the high demand for IT professionals. On the other hand, it is very hard to believe that someone pays developers for nothing. Off course they have to deliver, of course, they work to get the job done. Just because it is not easily visible to other people does not mean they not working hard.

It is easy for you to change a job

Why do people think like that?

This is quite similar to the first topic. When you see how programmers are generally relaxed with job changing, you might come up with this conclusion that is really easy for them to jump from one job to another.

Is this true?

Not entirely. If you only search for a new job, and you have week requirement then yes, it is true and it applies to you. But as you grow as a programmer, you start to search for the specific profile of the company and that’s narrow down your possible choices.

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Damnjan Jovanovic

@damnjan

I had a startup and it failed ... I still believe it is one of the coolest things I've ever done

Discussion

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I'm not sure about Europe, but here in the US I would agree with all 5 of those points, at least relative to other jobs. I know darn well my hardest days as a software developer don't really compare to those of other industries, even when it comes to being up all night triaging production issues.

To me this post just reads as trying to assuage feelings of guilt over the truths in those statements.

 

Hi Matt, thanks for feedback, I’m glad I heard perspective from someone living in US. I can’t really advocate for the US, actually, I can't really talk in any one name. My intention was to collect and discuss most of the stereotypes about developers which sometimes cross-border of reality. Sometimes I feel like the general opinion is that programming is supper easy, stress-free occupation which comes with an extraordinary paycheck.

 

I would like to add that sometimes coding is not fun when you have deadlines.

 

Let's not forget about the old "It's just copy & paste from Google"

 

And old but good:

"Its just a button"

(meaning to compose a pdf invoice stiched from many different data sources in bg and send it over to 1000s of emails instantly :D )

 

Yes and yes and YES. I HATE people like this

"It's so easy for you"
I spent my entire life learning!!! I started programming when I was about 11-12. I basically have spent 10 years with programming...... Sitting in my freaking room 12-14 hours a day.

AND I am still struggling with so many concepts and finding work.

And people just come and say "it's so easy for you as a programmer", "it's so easy for you as a freelancer, sitting home in an underwear the whole day".
Yeah thanks, sitting alone the whole day at home, how cool is that? Spending my "free time" looking for work, making sure I send out invoices on time, keeping a todo list ETC ETC ETC.

If I work 8 hours a day then I spend a couple of hours on "business" stuff. This is how it works....

So I think it's a bullshit, if someone spends their entire life doing something then it's easy to make it look easy...

 

Hi David, thank you very much for your comment. I'm glad you mentioned learning an integral part of our job description. It is tough to find any other job to compare where you have to learn incrementally on a daily basis to be able to catch up with current technology stream. I can see my wife (she is also a developer) was so outdated after only six months of maternity leave, that she had to start to code before the end of maternity leave to be able to stay in shape.
Another thing which is specific for learning in IT is that fact we have to absorb most of the stuff ourselves. There is no "book" you can buy, read and immediately go to some exam, or classes you can take. There is such a thing if you're a beginner in some field, and need wind in a back for beginning, but indeed not trough whole career.

 

Wow, This is so motivating to me as an intermediate, thanks mate.

 

I don't think it is easy, and we as developers have our own set of problems, but relative to a lot of the careers out there, we do have it pretty good and I do think that it is objectively relatively easy compared to other jobs.

It's important to focus on your own self improvement, and to help others, and for us to talk about the specific challenges we face day-to-day as developers. But I feel like we need to recognise how privileged we are to be able to do what we do.

 

I have worked in Mexican companies, as well as Mexican companies that do nearshore work for the US

US Developers have it quite easy, I often see my calendar people leaving the office for sickness, because their dog needs to go to the vet, because their back hurts, they want to work from office because of reasons... that is on the software clients we have, so yeah there's quite an flux of people back and forth, so I'd say the US does have those 5 points.

that is quite contrasting to Mexican companies that work for Mexican clients where you may be sick as hell but if you miss the clock in the morning it's a bunch of bonuses less at the end of the week, and there are not a lot excuses/reasons to leave office until it is really necessary.
While we have quite stricter set of rules in Mexico in that regard it doesn't really compare in other areas, I can leave my office on time also I can enjoy working from home, my hardest day involves just casual changing requirements for software, but no other engineer fields(beyond really lucky sysadmins) I know from my friends and acquittances neither medics, have those "luxuries" they need to be stuck in office without question and most likely after hours (at least 1)

So... yeah I think concluding

  1. It is easy for you to find a job
    Here in Mexico, as long as you know English and are relatively competent programmer; yes it is easier than in other fields

  2. It is easy for you to build that website/software/hack, you are developer after all
    perhaps it was hard at the beginning, but after the n*th CRUD everything else is relatively easy (at least regarding web development)

  3. It is easy for you to work remotely
    my current position is remote, so yeah before I didn't want to take remote because I wasn't sure on myself but not because I didn't have the option, and I repeat as long as you are good and know English, it is easier to get a remote job as dev than in other fields

  4. It is easy for you to get a lot of money for little work
    The average salary for most people I know (that are not software devs) is from 10k MXN - 15k MXN a month (not a lot I know) on the other hand, most of my colleagues are in a 20k MXN - 28k MXN a month so I'd say yes

  5. It is easy for you to change a job
    I will repeat it again, in Mexico as long as you are good dev and know English it is

perhaps that's just on my personal sphere, but I do believe it is a general trend in the country

 

Yo Damian,

I like your blog mate, good stuff. Let me add some opinions to heat discussion even more ;)

I completely agree, it is easy to find a job as a software developer. Even more, it is easy to find a well paid job quickly (withing hours / days?). Demand on market here (Poland) is so f*cking huge as they hire everyone who knows at least a bit about IT and is not completely blind. If I compare it with other professions from my country, when for example you need to have experience, send nice CV + resume and pass few steps interview process if you want to be just a postman earning 6 times less than software engineer, do you see a difference mate? Maybe from perspective of well developed place, where salaries are really high and they can choose from more than one candidate then it is a bit more difficult. But again, also there is a huge demand, hard to not have a job in IT right now.

One more point. I know it is not an argument but I can bet with you that every average person can become a software engineer. Not good software engineer but just a software engineer. Our job is very, very easy, but to be good on it we need some gifts which are not simple or even not possible to train (eg. analytical mind?). And it is a reason why no one invest money to convert eg marketing department into IT department. Simply final effect will be most probably terrible and it does not matter how much sales department are determined to change or how much resources we put on it. Our job just require some special character skills not everyone has but once you have those skills, it is easy money maker.

Keep doing, looking forward to read more from you.

 

Hei Lucas, I was so happy to realize that you left your comment here :D I miss working with you man, and healthy discussions!
It seems that I divided the audience in two opposite directions, at least by looking at the comments. It is hard to write about cliche's but not to fall into one :) if you know what I mean? Generally, it is very inaccurate to say that some job is harder than other if one of them is strictly physical (muscle mass matters) and other is totally mental (brain power matters). That's why I didn't want to compare the actual profession, but to provide (as much as possible) objective analysis, what makes one software developer good. As you mentioned, it is definitely a set of skills, not every person have it.
I agree with you totally that we can convert most of the population into the IT industry, but as you already said, the outcome won't be satisfiable either to industry standards, neither to management nor customers.

Thank you once again for reading my blog :) I hope you'll have a chance to go through other articles of mine and drop your opinion.

 

I don't think learning is unique to our profession. My wife worked as a nurse in intensive care for 20 years. There Was a lot of learning involved. And I'm sure that applies to other professions. But of course the ability to learn is important for our's...

 

Agreed with every word.

Most people in Russia think that programmers are do nothing and them pay a lot of money. I think in other countries the same situation in heads of citizens