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Tech Anti-Experience

Jon Evans at TechCrunch offers an analysis of the value of experience in software development. My reply:

From the time that the electric motor was offered as a flexible method for distributing mechanical power, it was nearly 40 years before belt-driven machines were replaced. According to historians, the controlling factor was establishing a community of technologists that understood how to leverage that flexibility.
Information technology has upended this constraint. Differentiating technologies are created and distributed to self-organizing tribes that use their specialization to gain competitive advantage over established peers in months.
This is fed by the industry’s rock-star economics: nobody knows where the next Apple or Facebook or Twitter is going to arise, so they find the most exploitable source of labor (young men with raging hormones) and set them to churning out code on unreasonable schedules.
The more thoughtful among “experienced” developers might look at the proliferation of technologies and draw parallels to youth counter-culture and slang in society at large. That would be to ignore the mature centers of the industry that serve to continuously remove impediments to the creation of distributed solutions. Younger developers have fewer things to think about – at least until the infrastructure begins to creak under the burden of their unanticipated success. Today, cloud-based SaaS and PaaS is eroding even that bulwark for experience.
So the author is correct, although maybe for the wrong reasons. My fear is that the real reasons also erode the value of the advice in the last two paragraphs. With the disruption of the “old boy’s network” by the world-wide-web, trying to keep up with technology may be a fool’s errand.

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