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Martijn Boland Blog

Are we out of touch?

/ 2 min read

Last week at the Øredev 2009 conference in Malmö, there was a closing panel with various big names in software development.

At one time during the discussion, Scott Hanselman brought up the issue that we (as in the people who attended the conference) might be out of touch with people like ‘The Chief Architect of the Nebraska Forestry Department’, formerly know as ‘Mort’. The discussion continued a little with terms like ‘elitist geeks’ and so on and during the discussion I started to get the feeling that Scott might have a point here. Aren’t we out of touch with the majority of developers that do the ‘real’ work?

Then, Ayende countered with a statement that he simply doesn’t trust developers who don’t keep up with technology, blogs and want to learn and made a perfect analogy: when you have to visit a doctor, do you trust one that doesn’t go to conferences and reads his literature to keep up to date?

That statement immediately did it for me. We aren’t out of touch at all. We are working in an industry where things change rapidly and I think it’s our obligation as professionals and towards our customers to continue to learn and improve ourselves. Maybe the people who don’t (want to) do this are the ones out of touch?

So you might think comparing a doctor with a software developer isn’t fair because the doctor is dealing with something much more important like the health of people and we developers just deal with computers and stuff? Think twice: our customers invest lots of money in software and for that amount of money they just expect us to stay current on technology.

Keep learning and improving!

(and call me an elitist geek if you like ;-))