Is Software Development a Beginner’s Profession?

More and more I’m meeting younger and younger developers. In my opinion I believe this is great news for our profession. Of course, that may be due in part to where I am meeting these young coders. Many I’ve met at conferences and user groups. This is fantastic! Eager young minds actively engaged in the software development community? Yes, please!

Noobs everywhere!

In a recent episode of The 6 Figure Developer Podcast, Uncle Bob Martin was discussing the prepetual doubling of software developers in the industry. “Half the programmers in the world have less than 5 years of experience.” This is a direct result of the doubling that we see happening of new programmers joining the industry. Compounding this is fact that the way to success is often through promotion into other aspects of business for many developers.

So, where are the old hands? Where are the craftsmen and women to train, mentor, and lead the new arrivals?

Art of Craft?

In the early 2000’s I was in a local bookstore looking for a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. The young lady behind the counter noted my purchase and asked if I were a Journeyman or a Master.

At the time I would have considered myself an absolute novice. I had only been in the industry a short while and didn’t yet feel like I had sufficient knowledge to succeed. I was seeking more information and working to gain knowledge and experience. I would often read articles professing that Software Development was Art! only to read another article that stated that Software Development was a Craft!

Whether you believe software development to be art, craft, or other; it is something to be learned, practiced, and worked at.

Beginner’s Profession?

If anyone has searched the job boards recently they will see an endless number of listings seeking Senior Software developers and very few in search of interns, juniors, and mid-level developers. Many companies think they want/need a Senior Level Developer because they want someone with experience that can help avoid potential (costly) pitfalls. Many non-senior developers express frustration that they cannot gain valuable experience without someone taking a chance on them.

Young (in age or experience) developers are a great resource. They can be molded. They can be trained in a team’s or company’s particular way of doing business. They are often eager, just looking for the right opportunity to shine. The future of the industry is in their hands. All they really need is a chance, a mentor to steer them right.

What does the future hold?

I continue to think about the closing of The Iron Yard across the nation and hope that something can continue and build on their success in their absence. I think about my friend Jeff Ammons and his success with Code Career Academy and have hope for the future. Success can be found from many paths. What does the road to success look like for the next generation of software developers?


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