Skills That Everyone Thinks Web Developers Have

Milecia McG on December 11, 2018

When you tell people that you are a web developer they start to see you as a different person. You'll get questions like, "Why isn't my Wi-Fi worki... [Read Full]
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"Can you hack my friend's Facebook account?"



My girlfriend asked me this once, I sat her down explained why it was impossible, why no one in our whole campus can't do it and how phishing, theft of credentials and social engineering are mistaken for actual facebook hacks


Twice this month. Both my own family asking about gf/bf


I've got this before... :|

I charge them 50 bucks, then print out the olds 10 posts :D.


Evil. That person probably deserved it though (Hacking peoples accounts isn't a nice thing to do or ask of someone else).


A few months ago a random person from one IRC channel asked me (PM) for help with hacking her bf IM account…


"I have a mobile app idea, similar to Facebook, it will buzz! Can you develop it for tomorrow ?"


'I have an idea for Uber-for-dog-walking' - them
'Oh yea? How much market research, advertising, business plan, and funding do you have?'- me
'none' - them
'go away' - me


Yup, I can, just give me million dollars in cash this evening :)



Also, people who deal somehow with ML/NLP constantly receive offers to launch a startup that will predict stock/fx markets. Like twice a week.


I wrongly assume rather different things about web developers -- e.g., that they can figure out how to install Ubuntu in a VM, or that they have at least a basic understanding of how operating systems work.

Maybe an article about what they should know, but often don't.


Maybe an article on snarky ops nerds being twats instead of shipping an ova


Yes, usually a web developer can do all of that, but he or she is not an expert on those subjects.

I was told to set up an old computer in my church. It took me a while because the hardware was very old. I installed Ubuntu SE. I rebuild everything to hide the administration from non saby users, installed a couple more applications and even the basic servers to start a website. At the end, I was proud of my work, but they were not happy because it wasn't Windows. Well, the machine came with Windows 98 and it wasn't ready for internet. I even bought a wireless adapter with my own money.

At the end, I told them that I wasn't a technician, but a developer. And to then, their idea was that I wasn't professional.

All the work and even free.

To many, if you are not an technician that can solve their problem, whatever it may be, you don't know what you are doing.


People make the assumption that I'm a hacker just because they saw some JavaScript in a black IDE. It's easier to go along with them sometimes.

Next time, open this: rattle out some kernel code by mashing the keyboard, then hit Alt 3 times, or CapsLock 3 times. Enjoy :)


My family has absolutely no idea of what I am doing all the day.
I don't know how to explain it to them.
And they keep asking me to get their internet box to work.

I wish I could go back in time and tell them I work at the post office...


Remember that as you (web developers) are more technically sophisticated than people asking you for this kind of stuff, you are usually able to check whether the site is down just for them or for everyone, know how to troubleshoot a WiFi connection and install gentoo. If your family/friends asked you for this kind of favor, you shouldn’t refuse, but try to explain to them how to find this option to make them just a bit more technically sophisticated… And give them a link to xkcd/627


Using terminal totally freaks out my family. Most hilarious phrase was - 'Are you hacking NASA? But yes my friend, you are right, if you working with computer you instantly become the wizard that can do magic others can't.


So here i am ... talking about this.
im working right now at an media company, im the only guy who knows html.
All this problems that you mention above is true and i felt related to that until i talk to my boss and... they read some Union status and responsabilities, but they mistaken the job, there were reading the IT status and i told them.. " so , where in this status said that i'm a programmer". they didn't knew what to do.


Sounds like you have plenty of opportunity ahead of you to make things better :)


I been here for 8 years aprox, the first years where good, now is horrible. do you have a job? :P


or if you can speed it up.

As a matter of fact, yes. I can speed up web pages by blocking certain resources, which requires some knowledge of the web to know what to block and what not to block.

What are some of the weirdest, most non web development related questions you've gotten because people know you write some sort of code?

I'm a programmer. I write programs. I know things about algorithms, programming paradigms and patterns, etc. Yet I cannot visit my grandparents without having to troubleshoot something with either their TV, the video editing program or some other electronic device that has little to nothing to do with my actual job description.

In peoples heads: Programmer == Someone who's good with computers


As a developer who has a background in tech support, network engineering, phone systems, applications..etc,etc... Those things are just not my job anymore. Our most hated word at my job is "glitch" which is uneliversal for "it doesn't do what I want so it's glitched'.


From my sister (who should know better). {National ISP} says it could take 2 weeks for my business to get internet connection, what can you do?

I called her to find she thought us nerds were jealously guarding wires with internet communications which we'd presumably been presented with by someone with a beard and a pot belly.

At first I said "I'll send Kieran up the M6 with the wire" but instead of laugh she simply asked how long it would take for him to walk 150 miles (I guess assuming the wire was weightless???)


Why the simple app need budget of $100,000+? people on freelance websites offer it only for $50-$200.


"My bank website isn't showing my recent transfer, can you fix that?!" facepalm


Oh God the tech support one...someone once said that because I work with stuff on the internet, I could somehow fix and setup their cable for them. All I wound up doing was calling the company and asking for help, the same thing anyone else would do.


This might sound mean but...I started charging my parents when they asked for tech support. They paid fgor the support from the OEM; Im not fixing there printer for free...


Gods, but do I hate printers ... horrible Rube Goldberg contraptions.


I guess that actually applies to a lot of professions. Before I was full-time developer, I studied electrical engineering and people thought I’m a an electrician and can fix their power sockets. When I told them that I work for Bosch they asked me if I can fix their washing machine.

And honestly, I’ve done the same. When I talk to a lawyer, I’d probably ask them about any sort of legal question that they have no idea about because they work in a diffferent branch.



LOL this is the issue I have with my family and my job. They know that I went to get a tech degree so they assume I'm an IT personnel even though I constantly tell them that I studied code...I mean...I can try to help you connect to the wifi or set up your devices but I don't troubleshoot.


Anyone else get approached for graphic design work as well? "That site looks great! Can you do the layout for my kids book?"


This is so true. I can't tell you how many times I've seen little kids walk up to me and threaten to call 911 because they think I'm hacking. It's so annoying and funny at the same time


Haha, I just published a few articles on improving your home Wi-Fi, if anyone wants some ammunition for the next time you're asked about Wi-Fi!


Scrap the Web in the headline - For a lot of people "i am a software engineer/programmer/etc" means "hey, here i am - fix my computer plllllzzzzzzz"


While awaiting the whims of business side to grace me with a full time Dev job, one of the ways I e made money is by repairing people's computers and sell their spare e waste on ebay (the bay area is expensive what else can I do? I got a dog to feed). Most of my clients are developers and yeah boo hoo it's no fair PEOPLE EXPECT YOU TO BE BASICALLY COMPETENT FIXING THE MACHINES YOU LOAD WITH BROKEN, POORLY DOCUMENTED GARBAGE. Its not a challenging trade, I get plenty of spare rigs for the Homelab cluster and I can charge half Geek Squad's prices (and not saying I did but I COULD charge a fourth of the "genius" premium at the pretty Linux I mean apple store) still walk away highly enriched, especially because devs throw money at things and hope they will go away. Its a systemic affliction in California that laze and carelessly obtained money make for quagmires of funding that have very real human tolls that neither developer nor whatever idiot in LA wants to look at, but run the risk of becoming themselves. Decadence in tech, as it exists in the Silicon Valley at least, is because boom times sweep through from time to time at present and like the fat cats in 1927, seems no one thinks the winning will end and they might need not only to install their own GPU with their flabby little arms, but even something so horrific as building maintaince or cooking an animal they themselves killed, without any halcyon to fill the void within.

I mean come on, you really should be able to troubleshoot (think debugging) basic hardware-software monstrosity courtesy of Microsoft. Its not like HostAPd is reading Hebrew script and if you have a degree you should know a little C regardless. Snapping pieces on and off of rigs is easier than the Legos set you'll be building Xmas Evening.


Hey, can you fix the internet for us please?

Umm. Sure, why not.

Restarts the router.


"Why can't I find your apps in the app store?"
"It's still being developed."
"So where did you download that?"


Every year someone in my family asks me "so you write software and work with computers?" I'm like, "yeah", then they're like, "..can you get the viruses off my computer? SMH...


"or if you can speed it up"

It's actually pretty easy to speed up the browsing experience for most average users: Just install an adblocker in their browser.


I'd add "inferring detailed requirements from crappy mocks".


Don't forget that it makes you an expert with mobile devices as well.


Hhahahahah...totally accurate for someone who doesn't know much about IT, ridiculous questions should always be expected I guess.


My children grew up thinking I was playing games in my computer all day.


I work in an Office as a developer and IT is two floors above me. Not only that they've outsourced IT. So I get questions nearly daily about keyboard issues etc.


We actually have it easy. Try being a doctor. Or a car mechanic... ;-)

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