We believe in open-source, so why can't everyone code?

sublimegeek profile image Jonathan Irvin ・1 min read

This crossed our team's slack channel this morning. Nothing really was said about it, but I felt it needed to be addressed.

Internet Trolls Make Fun Of This Victoria’s Secret Model For Saying She Can Code, Get Shut Down With Perfect Reply

The short of it is, people couldn't believe that a model can code. This should make everyone a little sick to your stomach. That's right.

We need to have a talk, developers.

Here we have an accomplished individual who is highly regarded on StackOverflow, has done video tutorials for kids along with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg on Code.org, according to BoredPanda.

Who, also happens to be a model. If anything, the lesson here is she is not only a fashion model, but she is also a model for developers all over the world.

Our idea, our image, of what a developer is, should be open-source. It should be undefined, it should not be strictly-typed. This is a problem the industry faces as a whole and we need to constantly call it out until it's no longer an issue.

We, as a society, thrive on strength by diversity in gender, race, and creed.

We are brothers and sisters forged in code. If you have trouble accepting that, you need to refactor your beliefs.

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Jonathan Irvin


I'm a full-stack cloud-minded engineer who enjoys devops and clean code.


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There's an entire Disney movie about this topic ratatouille


My wife was just talking about this!


While I agree with the fact that developers are not recognizable from their look (I know some more examples), it is still wrong to assume that anyone can write code. The sad fact is that very few people are developers.


I worry about the optics of "very few people are developers" if it risks making inexperienced or alternate-path devs feel like they're not part of the in-crowd. Correctness aside, I feel that it's more beneficial to start with "everyone can code" and make exceptions as needed, rather than to start with "only a few elite people can code" and vaguely rule out some number of capable people by default.

I'm a big fan of the "normal developer." In an industry as saturated with apps and ideas as the one we're in, not everyone needs to be a NASA-qualified TDD zealot who knows big-O notation and can balance a binary tree. In fact, it seems like the market demands a larger number of copy-and-paste, code-gluing, hack-until-it-works scrappers.

All the same, you're totally right that we shouldn't assume everyone should be a dev. Not everyone enjoys this kind of work.


Not everyone enjoys this kind of work.

I know, you have to have a sick mind to enjoy debugging javascript. ;)

I'm a big fan of the "normal developer."

Me too. You can move mountains with a team of passionate, average folks, than a handful of rock stars with biased opinions.

This is my philosophy I'm applying to #jellyfin. I'm taking some folks that are new to the game or just feel like they aren't good enough and help them contribute to the project and learn best-practices.

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jonathan-irvin / jelly-fin

A simple way to manage your finances with forecasting. We should automate our money, not make it automate us.

Jelly Fin

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Finances are hard. It's one of the first adulting things everyone has to wrestle with. So, let's make it easy and automate it. Over the course of several years, my wife and I have tracked our finances using a forecasting method and had done it all within a spreadsheet. The time came where I wanted to take this concept and make it mobile using serverless architecture and clean design.

Getting Started

These instructions will get you a copy of the project up and running on your local machine for development and testing purposes. See deployment for notes on how to deploy the project on a live system.


Node v8.x.x or use NVM

Installing and Running

  1. Clone the repo.
  2. Run npm install to cover any dependencies.
  3. Run npm start and follow the prompts to run the App in Expo.

Running the tests

After installing all prerequisites and dependencies…


I disagree. The sad fact is there are people who are missing out on the opportunity to code because of the environment as-a-whole.

Or worse, people who make the effort to learn to code, only to be shut down by people who have this mindset of only certain types of people can code.

Taking away superficiality, if a person has the qualifications and the personality, what's holding them back?


Nothing is holding them back. :-) But I think we should stop assuming that everyone should be a developer.

Agreed, At University as I am seeing right now most of the students rolling into software or CSE dept is because of the current glorified state of the computer industry. Some of them hate to learn new things and problem-solving as a whole. Thinking between changing the major or just hanging out as see where it goes.

Nothing is holding them back

Jonathan just pointed out two things holding people back:

The sad fact is there are people who are missing out on the opportunity to code because of the environment as-a-whole.

Not all people have the right circumstances to commit time to learning to code.

Or worse, people who make the effort to learn to code, only to be shut down by people who have this mindset of only certain types of people can code.

Prejudiced mindsets can easily discourage fledgling engineers.


@alainvanhout said it perfectly:

There's an entire Disney movie about this topic ratatouille






I would tend to disagree. Anyone can be a developer but not everyone is a software engineer. With the distinction around the discipline. The software development world is multi-variate. I've seen some great developers but they lack architectural disciplines or focus completely on optimization and less on maintainability.

I generally bucket software developers and software engineers into two buckets with a gradient of from one to the other demarcated by discipline and craftsmanship. I don't think skill or ability to mentor necessarily plays into their growth, although at the extremes, it does.

I think every entry level software maker is a developer with a very narrow focus towards solving problems. As their skills, scope and ability grow, they become more senior. However, if they science their way through development and grow in skill and discipline, the are actually leveraging engineering qualities.


So where do you draw the line between "coders" and "developers"?

I usually don't, unless its a medical transcription term (I work in healthcare). I think if I had to draw a venn diagram of the roles, a coder and a junior dev are the same. How one would identify doesn't really matter to me when I'd hire for that role. If a person said, "I'm a coder" and they applied for a more senior position, I'd also lean towards asking if they a mentor as well or where they see themselves. If they do more, they are more but they may be underselling themselves.

I see. In this case, this is merely a misunderstanding: What you call "developers" is what I call "coders" - because they aren't really deeply involved in the concept of what they "code".


I'm not saying that everyone should code, I'm saying anyone can be a programmer. If you want to start learning to code, just do it and the world should be open to it.

I'm not talking about the desire to be a programmer or to be a problem solver.

My main point is that we shouldn't disqualify someone as a programmer due to race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, etc. It's discrimination, plain and simple.

What I like about the article above is pointing out the blatant disregard for her credibility because she's female and a model. That's not right.

We should collectively be "open-source" to the idea that, yes, anyone can code.

It doesn't matter if your parents weren't Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

It doesn't matter if you attended this school or that school.
It doesn't matter if you came from a code camp vs self-taught vs a 4-year university.

That is my point.


"Bill Gates or Steve Jobs"
"Open Source"
Something doesn't seem right.
(I know that's not the point, but some Stallman is missing here)


We are brothers and sisters forged in code. If you have trouble accepting that, you need to refactor your beliefs.

I sort of love everything about this.


Personally, I want to see more diversity in the development world. If we leave the equality argument to the side and that's a sensitive subject, I simply believe we should welcome as many points-of-views and ways of problem-solving. A woman was instrumental in creating the computer that cracked the Enigma code. Without her, we may have lost months of time and 10's of thousands of deaths. The fact this discussion is still going is ridiculous.

Don't question peoples abilities based on what they look like, judge them on how they approach the problem and solve it.