The Developer Marketing Game

The marketing game directed toward developers is ridiculous. We all have known for years the new technologies come out all of the time, from JavaScript frameworks (React, Angular 1..2..3..4..5, jQuery, Meteor, KendoUI, Backbone, Handlebars, Vue.js) to new popular languages (Rust, Go, Python, Ruby on Rails) to new CMS (Sitecore, AEM, WordPress, Drupal, Aquia, Orchard, DotNetNuke, Joomla).

In addition to that, there are new platforms, iOS, Android, Windows, Linux (Pick your flavor), and now Rasberry PI, IoT devices, Arduinos, Smart TVs.

It creates a sense of burnout. We get overwhelmed by all the technology that we feel the need to keep up with. What if we stopped, what if we got really good at a technology that does what we want?  I’m not saying we should all be assembly coders, but rather than jumping on the latest trend, the next easiest thing, and simply get great at one technology that handles what we want.

Great example, I can write c# code that will handle 100% of webapi cases, it can scale easily on Azure, and it is an api, so it can handle any front-end framework out there. Why should I move to Python or Node or Java?

The better example, I love React and then got introduced to Vue. Vue is amazing but why? I can do it in React, why angular? I can do it in React?  Honestly, why React? I can do it in Vanilla JS.

The main reason that I keep hearing on why switch to “your favorite framework” is, “it makes it so much easier and is more maintainable”. Is it? Is it really easier to learn a new framework that may go away in a year, or have features deprecated in 3 months, is that more maintainable?

How much easier do we want coding to be? I have seen developers move from objective C, to Swift, to React Native to Xamarin back to Swift to Ionic back to Swift.  The time they spent learning all of that, they could have released 3 products.

What is the actual goal of development?

The goal of software development is to deliver software that solves a problem.

The next goals are to make the software secure, easy-to-use, and maintainable. (Not necessarily in that order). If you do that, in any language, you are actually contributing to the greater good of software development.

Enter conferences with eyes wide open

As a developer, I never realized how much I’m marketed to in very egregious ways. We attend conferences to network, learn new techniques, and learn about new technologies. We then return to our company with a new drive and passion and how we need to redo everything in this amazing new technology. NO WE DON’T! What we have is working well, don’t break something that is working.

Conferences are really fun and I love meeting the people there and watch how they use their tools in a coding scenario (as contrived as it is for demo purposes). Enter those conferences with eyes wide open. Those vendors are not showing you the best technology, they are selling you THEIR technology.

Cloud Selling

Let’s talk about the cloud. What is it really? Can you define what the cloud is? Isn’t it just a bunch a servers somewhere eventually? Well with the virtualization of everything, it may not even be a real server, it may be an instance on a real server that spins up so fast that you think it is real. What about the original host providers? Hostgator, BlueHost, and even GoDaddy.  Are they selling the cloud? I’m sure that is a marketing ploy to some, but the real cloud providers are the big 3 – Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. That’s pretty much all you will hear about thanks to amazing marketing. Do you even need the cloud? Or are you jumping on that to say you are supporting PaaS or IaaS in a cloud environment with dynamic scalability for global support across a cloud-backed CDN. How awesome does that sound?  Translation? We host on Azure and set a threshold for scaling.

Buzzword Burnout

Marketing people have so many buzzwords and they infiltrate areas you think are “pure”, they are in reddit talking about the latest buzzword, they pay “influencers” to write blog posts about their technology, they create campaigns to create a “technology awareness” which leads to higher adoption rates, and make you feel like you NEED that technology. Angular 5 is out now, what happen to angular 1,2,3,4?  Most places I know are using Angular 1.x still.  Are they missing out?  It is getting insane.

Stop chasing the latest and greatest, figure out what the problem is you are trying to solve, and use the technology that is correct. I wouldn’t recommend building a website in Cobol, that is what HTML is for, and build mobile apps for iOS in Swift and for android use Kotlin.  That’s it.  For webapi, I love C#, you can use Python, Java, or even Go, but don’t jump on a bandwagon because of some reddit article, some facebook post from someone you admire. Do what is right and stop selling us additional technologies that we don’t need yet.

Robotics is a whole different world and some of those technologies are new… because they need to be.

Project Management is another soapbox discussion, but I’ve written enough about Agile and Common Sense in a previous post (you can see it here)

Go build something amazing!


Also published on Medium.

About

I am a software developer, who loves technology, teaching, and helping others learn how to use technology. A true love for c# and the JavaScript. I enjoy jiujitsu, dancing, and learning from others about all sorts of topics.

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2 thoughts on “The Developer Marketing Game

  1. 1. John the Man, you are good at this, keep writing, I’m looking forward to your next post. I hope one day you’ll get enough readers/followers to be rewarded for your efforts/insight.
    2. If any of these “wonderful” frameworks/language/CMS were to keep their promise to solve previous/alternative frameworks/language/CMS problems and prove to be the best, easier, more/most maintainable ever…how come a new one shows up regularly?
    3. Do you know/worked of any application/project/site that was utilizing its underlying technology to the maximum, being optimized to full extent of capabilities? Have you ever been in a situation where you said “we squeezed all the juice from this […], we know it and use it beyond expert level, we have no choice but to upgrade to this new […]” ?
    4. Speaking of Cloud and the big 3 (although I would contend MS is going the way of IBM and the big 3 are Amazon, FB and Google)…what are your thoughts on this: https://staltz.com/the-web-began-dying-in-2014-heres-how.html ?
    5. This is the part that resonates the most for me: “It creates a sense of burnout. We get overwhelmed by all the technology that we feel the need to keep up with.” I learned and forgot some much during my “carreer” in development, so much got obsolete before I was able to declare my expertise in it, my “experience” (read baggage) is probably 10 times bigger than current skills. I wish 10% of that would still be of use and I would be an true expert in it.
    Which brings me to the next point: this race that we have to follow, the quest for the latest and greatest buzzwords to add in resume…the need for relevance…ultimately only ensures your employment. I like that you end your posts with “go build something amazing”, but ultimately this helps only in your employment, working for others – and that for as long you are able to keep up in the race.
    How many travailing in the IT trenches are lucky enough to be part of “greatness” (the Microsoft Server 2000, the iPhone 6, etc…all I’m sure to be remembered decades from now as the “it” of period (warning:sarcasm), all worth astounding your grand nephews with the “fight of .NET”).
    Working for others is never going to make you rich. It’ll never going to make you great. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, how is keeping up with this race going to make you better?

    1. Let me answer this in order… or at least comment…
      1) Thanks! I hope my insight even helps inform one person, but I write for my own therapy. It is my favorite way to share information.
      2) No idea… they keep coming out because technology marketing people are able to sell the next version. Same concept as the iPhone X, do we really need another iPhone?
      3) I have worked with one project that maxed out a system. It was my commodore vic-20. I did EVERYTHING I could possibly do with it at the time and upgraded to a commodore 64. I still don’t believe the C=64 was ever maxed from a tech standpoint. I loved that machine and the clever code people wrote for that is still intriguing today for me.
      4) FB isn’t really a cloud provider, but definitely THE social media provider. I was considering on how you approach hosting a new project. I suppose React is marketed well because of Facebook. Imagine if they are actually hiding more Angular references to promote React more. Yes, they could do that for those who don’t know. They will deny that they will ever do that, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of doing it.
      5) I agree with the race… I do dabble in all of the latest technologies so I know the buzzwords for the next interview. I love knowing new things, but mastering things that will be obsolete in 6 months? We have to keep in the race to work for the next big company. I always talk about build something amazing because that is how new things happen. Keeping up with this race will not make you better but building something you truly care about is what matters.
      I recently had a talk with someone that we make more money, then move to a nicer place, and then we have to keep the job to pay for the place. I know one day, I’ll move to a different place where I don’t need as much money to live and take the jobs that I truly care about even though they can’t pay me what I would make for the bigger companies. OR… I’ll create a company that I truly believe in and that will make the money and have the joy for work that I truly care about internally. I hope that answers your questions. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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