There’s still a lot of confusion about the life of a developer. Even the very word ‘developer’ (or ‘coder’ and ‘programmer’, which are also frequently used) sounds confusing. “What am I developing?” you might think. “It all sounds pretty difficult!”
Fears like these are understandable but unfounded. Development isn’t some exclusive club that only a handful of super-smart Stephen Hawking types can get access to. It’s a creative field that’s undoubtedly challenging, but also deeply rewarding, collaborative and fun.
In this post, we run through a few important things to understand about life as a developer.
You’re always collaborating
First up, let’s bust the biggest myth about developers. No, they don’t spend all day looking at bits of Matrix-esque ones and zeros on a screen while chugging cans of Red Bull. They’re not all loners sitting in their parent’s basement either, and they’re not all male.
While it’s true that just 17% of the UK’s tech workforce are women, that figure is growing all the time, and more and more initiatives are being created to increase the number of women and BAME individuals involved in the field.
We here at Code Nation have recently given scholarships to help drive this change, and we’re going to continue doing that.
At its best, coding is a diverse and deeply collaborative process – a real team sport. There are group meetings, daily stand-ups, brainstorming sessions and, of course, regular chats over the desk. Multiple heads are better than one, and development is just like any other job; by working together, you’re producing better solutions and delivering superior results.
You’re always learning
Technology is always changing. Every day, new techniques are created, new tools are built, and new ways of working are discovered. It’s why life as a coder is so interesting: it never stands still, and there’s always something new to learn.
Chief among these are Swift, a general purpose language created by Apple and used across their range of devices and operating systems; Scala, an object-oriented language used by the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn; and Rust, which shares some similarities with C++ and is sponsored by Mozilla Research.
This, however, isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. From A# .NET to Z notation, there’s a whole alphabet of coding languages, each offering its own special features and unique challenges. There’s always some new horizon when you’re a developer so you’ll never be bored.
You’re always being creative
Development is seen as a science, rather than an art, and in many ways it is: there are, after all, clear processes to follow and set rules to stick to. That doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity for coders to be creative though. There are plenty.
Code isn’t some abstract, intangible thing. A builder uses bricks, an artist uses paint brushes, and a developer uses code. They’re different tools, but the principle is the same: you use the tools of the trade to develop solutions to problems.
In doing so, you’re thinking creatively. How can what I build help people achieve their task quickly? How can what I build make a connection with people? How can what I build make people’s lives easier or better?
When you’re a developer you’re getting the best of both worlds: the precision of science blended with the creativity of art. You’ll never be bored.
Life as a developer is a challenging, creative and gratifying experience. Forget the clichés, ditch the stereotypes and embrace a career that has plenty to offer.