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Do we care more about what we've done or how we did it?

My crawling skin

I just ran screaming from my LinkedIN feed. As you can imagine, most of my LinkedIN connections are fellow software industry veterans. Many of them are now managers, while I've chosen to stay in the technical track.

What made me run away?

Well, it was a familiar trope that I've just hit my limit on. You might say it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I saw yet another post urging me to come build something exciting with Go, Kubernetes, and React.

Technology brand-name vomit

Developers and ex-developers have a bad habit of focusing on their work and not the result of their work. I see way too much preoccupation with algorithms and names of technologies, and not much concern over what's actually accomplished by their use. Did we help someone? Did we make someone's day better? Did we at least make something that sucked suck a little less?

No! But we used Kubernetes, Docker, Go, React.js, Webpack, Swagger, and who knows what other shiny logo-plastered over-hyped library, framework, or tool.

What do you expect me to say?



No! Go do some real work!

Turn it off

Sorry that this is turning into a rant, but I'm tired of posts from developers on LinkedIN, Reddit, and other social media networks ejaculating about the latest container technology they deployed in on the latest public cloud platform they contracted with using the latest top-trending language and framework package that everyone's tripping over their feet to tell us about.

It reminds me a bit much of the shallowness I thought I was escaping by becoming a software engineer. I mean, I already know where to go (my local gym) if I want to hear a bunch of body measuring. "Oh wow, look at that . . . I've got these rock hard abs here, thanks to my Whey Shake 2000 and the Bowman-self-musculator."

It all feels like the shallow Californian to me. Like something from the Blink 182 song, "Mutt:"

He pauses shaving and he tells himself that he is the bomb
She has her curlers set, her credit cards are paying the funds
... And it is way too unhealthy
Often they've typically been starved for attention before

Does this attitude really have any place in software?

I don't think so.

Do we care more about what we've done or how we did it?

So can we just change the conversation? What if I tell you I don't care if you use Cobol or PHP, Maven or Gradle, Rails or Spring or Boost or even straight-up assembly language? Next time you want to describe what you do, tell me what difference it makes for someone besides yourself.


Top comments (6)

millebi profile image
Bill Miller

Thank you for being someone else that doesn't care about the tools used. I thought I was almost alone.

Anyone that cares more that the Sistine Chapel was built with a shovel than the architecture and beauty of it is monumentally silly and looking for vain things to brag about.

I personally think that a customer should be left with a variant of the (somewhat stupid) gun motto ("You can have my software when you pry it from my cold dead hands"). Almost nobody cares that you used a particular technology, unless you did something crazy (e.g. Wrote a web server in BASH, just because you could) or you did it in a very unique manner (thinking outside the box).

Anyone with more than 5 years experience should be able to have a reasonably long list of technologies they've dealt with. After the list has 20 things on it (like a 10+, 20+, 30+ year developer) the count is immaterial. I always think: It's not an accomplishment unless many have said it can't be done; there's nothing special about doing something "normal" with a reasonable tool... that's just doing work that isn't deserving of applause.

scottshipp profile image

Your Sistine Chapel comparison is great, I might have to steal that!

okolbay profile image

I think its both, its hard to argue that modern tools are, well, more modern. Inexperienced developers though, tend to think that latest tools will do the job FOR them, and this is a big mistake (no fingerpointing, Ruby on Rails!). Another extreme is doing modern things with outdated tools - cute, cool, but why suffer?

restoreddev profile image
Andrew Davis

Totally agree! The language wars are exhausting because it’s so hard to up with every new language that makes the headlines. I get tired of developers criticizing each other for using a language that started in the 90s instead of the 2010s.

stanleysathler profile image
Stanley Sathler • Edited

HOLLY SHIT! THIS is exactly what I'm talking about. Nothing like an exciting post to get my morning even better.

Ok: if you detail what frameworks/libraries and tools you've used in our project, we can measure if you have certain knowledge. And of course: if you're coding projects to practice them, great, seems you're learning. But man... we're talking about the real world. And in the real world we build software for people. We try to make their lives easier. People don't care about how all this shit is done, as long as it resolves their problems.

Do you know React? Do you know Angular? I don't give a shit! Can you feel the company's energy? Are you excited to start changing the world with us? So that's what matters. The rest can be taught, but spirit... nah, it can't.

Of course that's just my opinion and it doesn't mean the absolutely truth. But that's how I see it.

Lovely post, Scott. ;)

ameliagapin profile image
Amelia Gapin

HECK YES! THIS!!!!!!! I wish I could ❤️ it multiple times.