From Joel’s foreword to Mike Gunderloy’s “Coder to Developer”:

When I got out of the army, I headed off to college and got a degree in Computer Science. Now I really knew everything. I knew more than everything, because I had learned a bunch of computer-scientific junk about linear algebra and NP completeness and frigging lambda calculus which was obviously useless, so I thought they must have run out of useful things to teach us and were scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Nope. At my first job I noticed how many things there are that many Computer Science departments are too snooty to actually teach you. Things like software teamwork. Practical advice about user interface design. Professional tools like source code control, bug tracking databases, debuggers and profilers. Business things. Computer Science departments in the most prestigious institutions just won’t teach you this stuff because they consider it “vocational,” not academic; the kind of thing that high school dropouts learn at the local technical institute so they can have a career as an auto mechanic, or an air-conditioner repairman, or a (holding nose between thumb and forefinger) “software developer.”


There’s something weird about software development, some mystical quality, that makes all kinds of people think they know how to do it. I’ve worked at dotcom-type companies full of liberal arts majors with no software experience or training who nevertheless were convinced that they knew how to manage software teams and design user interfaces. This is weird, because nobody thinks they know how to remove a burst appendix, or rebuild a car engine, unless they actually know how to do it, but for some reason there are all these people floating around who think they know everything there is to know about software development.

I bet this sounds familiar to many of you if you've been in the field for a little while... :>>

Comments from long ago:

Comment from: chro

Anyone can repair a car, or remove an appendix with little or no training. It’s just that IT tolerate a much higher failure rate and has much lower expectations for qualifications.

2004-06-03 19-14

Comment from: Satyajeet

I have seen so many art majors who are clueless aboout software get jobs in software…

I believe that either you are a geek by birth or not…

hate to see these incompetents try their hand at something just coz it pays better


2004-06-27 18-56