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Vavelin Kevin
Vavelin Kevin

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What happened to developers in France ?

Disclaimer: this article is based only on my personal experience and what I’ve seen through this year in working inside some company.

This year was a year mostly focus on web development, it’s not a domain I like particularly but I can do it if the project is fun enough (not something I can find on the internet and just spend 1 day on it). At first, I know the industry love JavaScript framework now, React, Angular, Vue, etc. gets a lot of plebiscite inside the developers community. But I notice something that I can not understand…

Imposter ?

It started with a young student who wanted to learn more about web development, but soon I realized he can write code in React but know nothing about JavaScript itself ! How this can happen ? If something is not on React he is lost, he doesn’t realize that React is just a library, if React don’t do it maybe it’s because JavaScript does… He doesn’t know about chaining function call, anonymous function, what is a closure or even a promise, but he uses it, can write sugar syntax for it and so on. He writes code that he have no idea how this code works, bu he can write it because he learned it, he saw it, reproduce and know it is working this way. I felt lost at that time but, why not, after all he is young, he still can learn.

Then came a new developer to my team, with more experience, not so much, but more. He came and said he know some stuff on Angular and React, so naturally I gave him the Angular side of the project. When I saw the code, I notice that he cannot do nothing in Angular if it’s not on some articles, forums or tutorials. Even if the documentation of the class itself show some sample code for the job he had… What happened to our beloved developers in France ?

And more recently, I have some developers who learned Docker, how to deploy a docker container to a cloud provider, and guess what ? Just with this, they now assume they know everything about cloud computing !
I know there is a term for them, it calls an “imposter”.

The danger of pression to developer

And I kept working, I was asking to my co workers to write some test. Our code need to be tested, it’s a priority. And guess what ? They did not, they always had an excuse for it, not enough time because the client want a new functionality, we have too much bugs waiting to be fixed, etc. But the real reason that they can’t assume is: they don’t know how to do it. They just don’t know how to test their code. And this is a big problem I think.

Coming to the pressure, it comes from the top of the pyramid. Management don’t care about what a developer is stuck on, or why he would try to improve its code, they just want the product to be sent, the client pay, and if there are a few bugs left they work on it. After all, they sell the maintenance of their own technical debt, something the client did not asked for…

This is becoming a classic way to build software in France, they find the way to sell their own technical debt to the client, and the client don’t know about it. I see that as a theft and disrespect to clients.

But as developers don’t want to lose their jobs, they keep doing the same thing again and again, and it will maybe never stop if no one is telling the truth. So we have more and more developers tired, unhappy, and unwilling to work properly because they know they will not be listened by their hierarchy.

What about manager ?

Oh… Managers… So far I saw two type of manager :

  • Those who assume they don’t know the technical side and trust their developers when they say no.
  • Those who don’t care about the technical side, the developer have no words and must do what they said because the client will not see the technical side, he just wants something that work and if their is remaining bugs it’s even better because they can make more money.

The second type are the worst in my opinion. They are more and more prominent so if you say “no” for a task, and the manager give you no choice, change company.

Thanks to the developers community

I saw more and more blog post about how to deal with imposter, how we could be better developers together, and sincerely thanks for that.
On LinkedIn I see more and more post about developers that are tired to write code after another one because they did not do the right thing.
I love so much this community of developers who are passionate about their job and share it with other.

Discussion (3)

_kilowat profile image

Merci !

I'm still a high schooler. I'm a C++ dev that started programming when I was 11. And I can already see the problems of the french academic system for devs

The french way of doing is the one you described. It works, you get paid, goodbye. My school section is sti2d, it is supposed to be the one made for programming and technology. And we're not learning anything about what is a compiler, what even is a program. We just are thrown in front of Arduino boards, and we have to learn the documentation by heart.

I talked to a IUT (university) programming student. First year. 3 months into the thing. He asked me for help (until here, no problem). But the code he shown me was horrible. They basically learnt C using C++. Their teacher said "Javascript and C++ are kind of the same" etc..

I can't believe it's possible to suck that much at teaching coding to people

I'm heading for a programming school in Lyon called 101. It's a clone of the Paris 42 school. It's less known, but it has an excellent method. A "non-french" way of doing.

I hope my experience can help

seraphicrav profile image
Ravaka Razafimanantsoa

I got the same problem, and I started my career almost 10 years ago. They guy had more expensive than me...

kevinvavelin profile image
Vavelin Kevin Author

Yes it's because they already know now how to get paid really good because we did the job before. They get paid much for doing less :/ I just hope my article will help others like us who get tired to share the truth inside their company, the little thing we have to do is to let them code what they sell and don't try to sell out bugs afterwards.