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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Mike Gunderloy's Coder to Developer

"And then, one day, finally, perhaps when it’s too late, you’ll wake up and say, “Hmm. Maybe I really don’t know what it really takes to develop software.” And on that day only, and not one minute before, but on that day and from that day forward, you will have earned the right to call yourself a software developer. In the meantime, all is not lost: you still have my blessing if you want to eat donuts every hour."


This is from one of the articles Joel wrote.

I don't get this passage and important for me to conclude something for myself.

Is this supposed to mean the day we realize there is much to learn about software development and further educate ourselves or we should stop and give up because we don't have the right qualifiations.
Reşit Akyüz Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
It sounds like something Buddha would recommend had he been a software developer

Or maybe we just don't get it... it sure is a bit confusing
alexandar Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
I take it to mean that you need to get over your arrogance and realize you'll never know everything, there will always be many more things to learn & you can always be better.

Although if that's what it means this is a really odd way to phrase it.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
Without the context, the quote sounds like nonsense.  It is hard to tell since some people exaggerate when they write.

Maybe, he meant something like, "When you firmly get the idea that you will never know everything about software development, only then are you really a professional software developer."


Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
Software developer is so obsolete, software engineer is where it is now.  There are also sale engineers, test engineers, marketing engineers, and the best of all of them - business development engineers.
Maksym Sherbinin Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
It's one of these sayings like "The more you know, the more you know the less you know." It means only the experts are aware of how little they know. Amateurs don't know enough to understand how complex things can be.
Scott Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
The article: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CoderToDeveloper.html

I think the introduction explains the context:

"But seriously, folks, what drives me crazy is that most software developers don’t realize just how little they know about software development.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Friday, February 15, 2013
Above replies have pretty much covered it but I've found the same in copywriting and I think any serious endeavor  leads to the same conclusion.

I'm reminded of the first time I took a small 19 ft boat so far off the coast we couldn't see land anymore...

You look around and realize the sea is even bigger than you thought, and you thought it was pretty damn huge to start with. The only thing pointing the way home is your boat's GPS, your big compass, your little compass, your phone's GPS, your father in law's phone's GPS and your knowledge of the sun's direction.

Suddenly it doesn't seem enough and you feel very small and very lost.

The good news is, that unlike blog posts online, it fades away and you get your confidence back. However it remains true that once humbled your can never be quite so arrogant again.

You can spend a lifetime studying a single subject, and never grasp more than (insert some suitably small percentage here) - because it's never a single subject, not really.

Take my copywriting, all about selling, right? Yeah, selling and *writing*. But then you need to understand more, and more, and more still. Soon you're branching into psychology, primate motivation, group behavior, statistics, graphics and layouts, feelings invoked by colors...

It's never-ending.

And it doesn't matter.

Keep learning, keep doing it, keep learning some more - and never think you know it all, because you don't and never will.

Enjoy it anyway, because life is a journey, not a destination etc bletch

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Saturday, February 16, 2013
I don't particularly like it when people put too much meaning behind titles, such as "developer" vs "engineer", but here Joel's using it to make a point. When he calls someone a "coder", he's inferring that the person wrote some code that solved a problem, and then stopped thinking about it beyond that point.

Writing software presents so many different ways to do the same thing. A lot of people can get some code to make their program work, but it takes a lot more thought to decide what solution to choose and why.

And, there's also a lot more to software development than the bytes. You may need to revisit your user process, you may need to tune and adjust your code for performance, you will have to edit your user documentation and marketing. It's all this supplementary work that surrounds the actual code that the "software developer" cares about if they want to provide a quality product to their users.

The key word is "development". A coder just gets something working and then stops. A developer gradually develops a software product by adding on the extras that make it usable. If you realize you don't know everything about software development, it means you are always seeking out where you can improve your product, and that takes you to the next level.
Jarrett Lee Send private email
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Thanks for the insightful answers. The message the article aims to deliver is more clear for me now.
Reşit Akyüz Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013
As soon as i am done with Code Complete, i'll start reading this book. I really like these kind of books that lays the foundation and the ideas that are applicable to all disciplines..

They not only educate you in software development and computer since but also there is so many valuable thoughts that'd illuminate you in all areas of life.
Reşit Akyüz Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013

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