Developing Developers

Many years back I had a player on the MUCK that was majoring in Software Engineering. I asked them what sorts of things they were doing and what their plans were, only to be told that they didn’t want to talk about that school stuff on their time. They didn’t really care about tech, other than as a job. So be it.

They graduated. I asked what they were seeking. “I’m going to get a job doing process — not grunt coding.” Grunt coding. I pointed out that without experience, they were likely going to start at the bottom like everyone else. They disagreed. They had a BS degree, after all.

It was a few weeks later when they were back and I asked how it was going. “I’ve got a job.” “Doing what?” “Writing reports in VB for a bank.” They didn’t seem at all happy. Granted, after the contempt for grunt coding I couldn’t help myself, “How’s that process working out for you?” They never spoke to me again.

Much of what we do as developers is in fact “grunt coding.” Much of what auto mechanics do is in fact “turning wrenches” too. Like fixing cars or home improvement there are many classes, bootcamps, online courses, self-study programs, books, etc., on the use of our various tools. And like mechanics, knowing how to work our tools is necessary — but it’s not sufficient.

What is necessary to go with what is sufficient?

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