Skip to main content

I’m Supposed to Know

Great post for developers who are struggling with unrealistic expectations of what they should know and what they shouldn't. Thirty-forty years ago, it was possible to know a lot about a certain environment - that environment was MS-DOS (for non Mac/UNIX systems). . There was pretty much only a handful of ways to get things going.

Enter networking. That added a new wrinkle to how systems worked. Networks back then were finicky. One of my first jobs was working on a 3COM + LAN and it then migrated to LAN Manager.

Enter Windows or the graphical user interface. The best depiction of the complexity Windows (OS/2, Windows NT, etc) introduced that I recall was by Charles Petzold (if memory serves) at a local user group meeting. He invited a bunch of people on the stage and then acted as the Windows "Colonel", a nice play on kernel. Each person had a role but to complete their job they always had to pass things back to him, as he was the one in charge. After a few minutes, it was clear to everyone how complicated this was getting. It also showed how important it was for developers to understand the various moving parts. And this was thirty years ago.

Fast forward to today. There are so many different technologies and ways to accomplish things that it is literally impossible for someone to "know" it all. Network communication, security and accessibility are all areas that are considered core knowledge. Things are also changing at breakneck speed even for established companies. We can't all be startups. You may be working in an organization that is moving from Windows 2016 to Windows 2022 or worse, from SQL Server 2008 to 2012 and the hopes of moving to even just 2016 recently.

Certainly, AI tools give developers a good starting point, provided they give the right information, a task that isn't quite being met with 100% accuracy. With the speed that things are changing today, there will always be gaps in knowledge, even for experienced developers. React, Angular, Vue are only some of the frameworks today. Bootstrap is considered older technology, despite being in a lot of places. Webpack is being replaced in a number of environments with Vite. There may be some overlap but it's difficult to know everything. Blockchain technology was a huge opportunity a few years back. There are likely still opportunities for Fortran and COBOL developers. One of my clients still has a VB 6 application running mission critical systems. It still needs to be supported. But developers also like to work with new technologies, even if it's to find a way to bridge the gap between old and new systems.

As a developer, embrace the fact that you won't and can't know everything. Your real knowledge and value comes from how you can leverage your experience with learning about new technologies and how successfully you can turn that into working solutions.


Popular posts from this blog

Blogs and RSS come to

MS has just introduced their portal and it's pretty comprehensive. Nothing quite like learning that some people use AIM instead of MSN messenger, or that there really may be a need for supporting 4 monitors ( Cyrus Complains ) However, it's really a great sign that MS is serious about supporting the blogging community which seems to have um, exploded in size in the past year. Blogs and RSS come to

FoxInCloud Stats

FoxInCloud sent this link a while back about their statistics regarding visits to their site: What's interesting here is the breakdown of people. Yes, I think it's understandable that the Fox community is getting older. Another factor is the growth of the mobile and web environments taking over development. These environments really do push people towards the newer non-SQL or free SQL/hosted environments but more towards hosted storage options like Amazon and Google. A tool like FoxInCloud that helps MOVE existing applications to the cloud inherently competes with those environments. But FoxInCloud also allows developers to extend their application further by giving them a starting point using Javascript and the basic CSS (such as Bootstrap). If you're not rebuilding your application from scratch, it's certainly a great step forward. FoxPro VFP

Facebook Revolt - imeem alternatives?

When Scoble noted how Facebook under major revolt , I immediately thought of a site I found yesterday. The value offered by Facebook's feeds however do seem very cool - if only they had been smart and made them opt-in, instead of opt-out. I have been impressed though with Facebook's opening of their API's - they certainly get it that they need to open it up to developers. I haven't really explored this other site, beyond my first look. In some ways, I think the whole social networking site thing is just silly , but this site (imeem) definitely showed some value. I could find music (as posted by the artist), it worked in Firefox and it allowed people to rank, add to delicious and more. And when I'm looking at someone, I can see what they're up to (or rather what they allow us to see). Anyways, you may want to check it out.