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Cult of the Developer

Developer relations, developer retention, developer worship. Despite talk of mental health challenges, long hours, pressure to deliver – the developer is still king or queen.

I know, and like, a great many developers. Heck, I am one, although I’ve not developed full-time now for years. Maybe I’m not the best, but I speak the language(s) and I can hack the hacks and I have the experience of spending a lot of time building and supporting stuff that matters to people.

So, I can sidle up to the bar of development and order a drink and not look too foolish.

And where have we gone with this cult of the developer?

The world is in love and a little bit afraid of the developer. In awe of their prowess, in fear that they will not understand what we say and laugh at us, in terror of us deciding what to do and what not to do.

Yet, despite salaries being higher than ever and developers picking and choosing, there is almost so little choice in the world of development. While there are more languages and more frameworks than ever, something feels a little bland.

We have the 12 factor app – a way to build and deploy reliably.

Because the wheel has been reinvented so many times, in so many places, the world is awash with software. Open source, propelled by GitHub among other repositories, is there for us to pick and choose from. And that is now the role of the developer, to pick a framework, to pick a platform, and to glue them together.

It was ever thus. But then something like GitHub Copilot comes along and suddenly perhaps the balance is tilting towards systems rather than creativity? How much longer will the developer be a developer? And what does that mean in 2022?