The World is changing, technology is evolving, a new is replacing the old. We, as humanity, are more effective, faster and productive, but does it mean that we are better?
Generation I – a magician
Developers mostly are creative, intelligent people. They want to learn, they are ambitious and generally speaking there are not dumps. But we need to take a look at people, who have created the place for our work – the fathers of IT in a state that we know now.
Look at those people: Alan Turing, Edsger Dijkstra, Donald Knuth, Steve Wozniak. They are people who invented and refined machines that we are using now. They also created methods of working with them and prepared the basics for developing today’s fully functional solutions for big enterprises.
They were mostly extraordinary scientists who spent lives on making the world better.
Generation II – a technical mathematician
The World noticed the dormant potential of the new machine that computes numbers automatically. It was called “computer” (by the way, it’s so ironic, that the machine that has made such revolution in the word has a so silly and plain name). Thousands of people were supposed to help with developing the new digital world, but programming computers in languages like Assembler, COBOL or FORTRAN wasn’t a piece of cake. Anyone who wanted to start playing with it required deep knowledge about electronics and maths. There were also thousands of people who wanted to make programmers life easier and they wanted to create easier languages that can be used to describe the real world easier.
Generation III – a programmer
I guess that In late 1990’s the average person could say what exactly programmer is doing. A computer was a common equipment even in private houses. Programmers were needed desperately and that’s why more and more people decided to go for IT studies and become developers.
They are using stable technologies and today, they are a keystone of the industry. They know how to things in a right way when we have so many ways to go. They have a theoretical background. On the other hand, they are scared of now things, they don’t really want to take a risk of checking new technologies because they don’t know them and don’t trust them. It’s completely fine that they don’t want every new framework that came out last month – it’s not their job.
Generation IV – hipsters
The last generation started couple years ago. Young IT geeks saw that working in IT is a quite profitable and sexy job. The stereotype of a nerdy, fat and creepy virgin from a basement is not valid anymore, so why not to join these elite people with Mac computers with fancy stickers on them. They use each new technology that sees the daylight and drops it after 3 months because it seems to be deprecated now. They do want to learn and are curious about the IT world.
They don’t know what humility Is, so they are sure about they infallibility. The employment market is so desperate that they don’t require any education related with IT. If you are “eager to learn” it’s fair enough. They don’t listen to people of the third generation and they don’t even know that people from first and second generation ever lived (or are living).
I don’t want to say that people of any of those generations are worse. They are probably excellent specialists and It’s important to have them in our industry. The thing is – we need to be aware of our status and try to do everything to expose and polish up your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
Young programmers need a mentor, which is like a parent of the professional life. I recommend them to watch Karate Kid movie and try to find yourself in the main character.
There is also a great area for managers – put effort and resources to teach juniors, but also try to give them guides for the long-term development process.