Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In The Kingdom Of The Blind, The One-Eyed Man Is King

Don't you also sometimes wonder where all the top-notch developers are gone? As more and more unskilled novices enter the scene while simultaneously some old veterans are losing the edge, chances are there are not too many star programmers left to steer the ship through difficult waters. Not that this is happening everywhere, it's just that it seems to be happening at some of the software shops I know, so I am quite sure the same is true for other places as well...

The combination of newcomers on one hand, who have some theoretical knowledge about new technology, but at the same time no idea how to turn that knowledge into working products, and long-serving developers on the other hand, who are not willing to relearn their profession on each single day, is particularly dangerous.

The greenhorns often load a pile of tech buzzwords upon their more-experienced peers along with poorly engineered, homebrewn frameworks (notwithstanding they might know about third party software platform and component markets, they tend to suffer the Not-Invented-Here Syndrome). After that, they endlessly keep on theorizing whether to favor the Abstract Factory Pattern over the Factory Method Pattern or not.

At the same time their seasoned colleagues - overwhelmed with all that new stuff - just want to turn back time to the good old days when all they had to worry about was whether the Visual Basic interpreter swallowed their code or their mainframe batch jobs produced a valid result. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Really it's weird - the people who are smart AND experienced AND get something done, they seem to be an endangered species. Some of them waft away to middle management (which is often a frustrating experience, as they cannot do any more what they do best), others are still around but because of one reason or another they are not in charge any more of taking the lead on the technology frontier. It's the architecture astronauts who took over. And it's the MBAs who allowed them to. Pity.