re: Why is the software industry so competitive? VIEW POST


I agree and it's not healthy. While no one factor is solely responsible, I'd say ineffective leadership is a big problem in our industry.

Say what you want about jocks, but they know how to work on a team and their teams are lead by people who know how to lead.

Have you ever seen a new programming lead or senior dev receive leadership training? Training in team dynamics? Psychology? Managing people? Effective communication? Coaching?

Another example: the military is all over this stuff because they know the importance of working as a unit. Maybe our profession will catch on one day.


Sorry man, but I'll call this bulls**t. Competition is on a whole different level amongst athletes and military. Some even take drugs and sacrifice their health so they can compete (khm - cyclists often can't have children).

And yes, there is a difference. It's that programmers complain too much about their "hard life" when in fact they have it relatively easy, but due to the high demand and that actual skill i required they are deemed valuable.

I was in the army and I know how rough the training can be. Nothing to do with modern software developer expectations about team-building (khm company-paid vacations), going to conferences (more vacations with free drinks and long pauses) and 6h working day (and lately I read about 4 working days per week)... You don't get that in the military, you get 24h duty even some weekends.


Some even take drugs and sacrifice their health so they can compete

That also happens in software development, see this blog post summarizing results from our research on software development expertise:


One of our participants (age 60) wrote the following:

I found that I lost a significant amount of my focus as I became 40, and started using drugs such as ritalin to enhance my abilities. This is pretty common among older programmers.

You still can't realise the magnitude. The athletes take the drugs to become athletes, not to keep it going.

Losing focus after 40 is a natural thing. I'm 45 myself and I know exactly what I'm talking. You are supposed however to be a bit smarter and have discipline to handle that by this age.

You still can't realise the magnitude. The athletes take the drugs to become athletes, not to keep it going.

I agree that one can't assess the prevalence of this phenomenon using the data from our survey. But I suppose that it's not only older developers using such "smart drugs", see for example this article or this short discussion on Twitter. Considering that students also take such drugs, I think the statement "developers take drugs to become developers" is not as far-fetched as it may seem.

I think, that people used to have it way too easy all the time. Let me tell you a story - when I was in 8th grade, I got into a foreign language high school and I had to study German for at least 3 hour every day of the week. In the afternoon we had to spend at least 2h to write our homework under supervision. Imagine my shock, when one day we had to learn 80 new words. I complained, that this is insane - how can I memorise 80 new words for a day and one of the older students laughed and said - oh this is on easy days, usually they will be around 120... a few weeks later I figured out it's not impossible, yes it was hard and pushing us to the limit, but it WAS possible. The next thing I realised was, that I was supposed to memorise as much as I can and nobody will kill me if I forget a few. Some students thought this is way too hard for them and decided to leave. Other just kept going without pushing themselves beyond their limits, but in the end we all graduated and we all learned a lot.

Moral of the story - you don't have to be perfect, just do what you think is right (for you)


There is definitely a lot of marketing that gets new people into code or drives people towards certain resources as a matter of "you're not good enough".

This is a good post:

If you're never good enough, you're always comparing and competing.

The funny thing is that it's not that hard to be "good enough". I'm basically a good enough programmer to have a fine job as long as I want to be coding, and I'm not perfect or close.

We should be getting "better" for the joy of it, not out of a sense of inferiority.

Getting better is really just a matter of sticking it out and gaining experience without burning out.


Hey Ben, I read your reply several times and I'm perplexed. I wrote a big reply and then deleted it.

What are you trying to say exactly? What should we be doing differently in your opinion?

Ummm, I don't think Ben was trying to counter or anything like that. I think he just continued his train of thought in to the next comment, lol. :-)


IMO, over 20 years ago one would not survive by just being good enough. Technological evolution has enabled people to be successful in this industry even when they're only good enough. Another reason why interviews at the big four have a high-bar.

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