In 1997, the band Crass infamously stated that “Punk is Dead”.
What does the phrase “Punk is Dead mean? The phrase refers to an underground outsiders scene, such as the scene that defined punk music, moving to the mainstream and selling out for large profits. By the 1990's this certainly has been the case where punk bands started popping up on MTV and VH1; malls full of young adolescents in Hot Topic trying to sport the latest punk trends (No judgement; I was one of them! ). The scene had moved to a rebellious weirdo scene to one that was exploited for large profits.
We can apply this definition of dead, the movement from an underground outsider scene to the exploitable, high-earning profit mainstream, to most outsider movements. At a goto; conference video I came across on Youtube, one of the founders of the Agile software methodology, Dave Thomas declared that Agile is dead. For those who don't know, Agile is a software development methodology to quickly produce flexible software products. On Feburary 2001 in Utah, 17 software developers came together and wrote the Agile Manifesto. As Dave points out, Agile took a sick turn. Agile wasn't so agile anymore. It became a strict methodology where companies began to pop up and offer expensive training classes to other companies and developers. Thus leaving David to declaring Agile dead.
We can take the definition applied to Agile and push it even further. As a student at a university I attended many hackathons. Every hackathon is full of students competing to code a project under a set amount of time and win cash prizes. All these hackathons have large sponsors such as Microsoft, LinkedIn, NFL, etc. Each with their own prize for using their technology. After awhile it was sickening to see some projects casted out because it did not fit what the company wanted them to do with their technology. Innovation was bounded by money. Another trend is coding bootcamps; where people with very little skills go to a weeks long seminar on how to code something very specific and then try to get hired. According to SkilledUp, code bootcamps range from $2000 to as high as $14000! Now there is nothing wrong with people wanting to code or get a job coding, but there is a good majority of people who are only interested in the high salaries that Silicon Valley has to offer.
Let's contrast this with the old underground, outsider scene that used to be homebrew computer clubs. Homebrew computer clubs date as far back as the 1970s; way before there was a computer in every home and hand. These were groups of people who had an interest in electronics and would join together to explore projects out of passion. Step into any hackathon scene or coding bootcamp and you'll still see people who have an interest and passion in computers, but I'll doubt you'll have to go far to see people who are struggling to win that big corporation prize (and at the end of the hackathon let the project rot away on Github) or try to impress those big wig recruiters. With the huge influx of people and corporations twisting what used to be a fringe scene I guess you can say where I am going with this. Code is dead.
But just because computer programming went mainstream and has a profit margin doesn't mean that the material is less exciting. Let's admit that we all have to play the corporate game to some degree if we're going for a nine-to-five stable job. Let's also admit this means more opportunities are brought to light and more people being brought in means more chances of having quality people. The trick though is to not lose that passion and trying to be one in the crowd. Try to be a rebel. Do more side projects not for higher income, but because that is what you love to do. Be the living amongst the dead.
For anyone whose interested, here's that Agile is Dead video:
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