Five myths about software developers

Each era of history has had a need for people with particular skills. Take the Renaissance for example, the age of discoverers and reformers, when Columbus discovered America and Niklaus Copernicus established the heliocentric view of the world. Followed by the age of Enlightenment, the age of poets and thinkers, with the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

While the heroes of the past were mostly to be found among adventurers, philosophers and poets, today it is above all the skills of software developers, generally known as nerds, that are in the greatest demand.

The age of digitalization is the era of IT specialists and programmers. It is now time to take a closer look at this special species and the myths that surround them.

Myth #1: Software developers are eccentrics and recluses

Well, they do exist, those introverted nerds wearing T-shirts with whacky slogans, practising strange hobbies and with an odd sense of humour. And yes, there was a time when these eccentrics preferred to spend their time amongst their own sort of people or led their lives like hermits.

But that has long since changed. Buoyed up by the knowledge that they are in more demand than ever before, the people who might still fit in with these stereotypes are now proud of their individual characteristics.

And above and beyond that, software development is all about one thing: team work. Agile project development demands intensive exchange between project managers, customers, consultants or product developers. So, if you are on the lookout for socially awkward freaks or hermits, software development is definitely the wrong place to look nowadays.

Conclusion: Myth outdated!  #haveaheartfornerds

Myth #2: Software developers collect comics and love science fiction

According to a non-representative survey, none of the developers in our company are passionate comic collectors. However, science fiction did rank highly among our respondents.

And any keenness for sci-fi blockbusters is definitely not limited to developers. Among the millions of enthusiastic cinema fans who went to see Deadpool, Star Wars or X-Man there were also plenty of colleagues from sales, marketing and product management (although these colleagues seldom expressed their preference for sci-fi by wearing weird t-shirts – unlike their software developer colleagues).

Conclusion: Myth is partly true. #sci-fi-rulesOK

Myth #3: Software developers are nocturnal basement-dwellers

Apart from the fact that in our company it is the developers who often get to work first, there are good reasons for developers to cut themselves off from the rest of humanity and work through the night.

Reason no. 1: There are not so many things to disturb them at night. No bosses or colleagues to interrupt their programming with idle chat or phone calls, so they can experiment and try things out in peace and quiet.

Reason no. 2: Companies need motivated staff. And what motivates developers most? Correct – when they can face and overcome one obstacle after another, fix any bugs and when, at the end of the day, the things they have been working on actually function, that is when they are really satisfied. In addition to peace and quiet, patience and concentration, it is above all creativity and the ability to think around corners that they need. And, believe it or not, there are indeed several studies which prove that night-owls are more intelligent and creative than the early risers among us.

Conclusion: Myth not disproved. #sowhat

Myth #4: Software developers only eat fast food

First of all, we all know what it’s like when the need for a burger or pizza from your favourite takeaway overcomes you. And when developers are in full flow the last thing they think about is a healthy diet.

But a healthy diet is an important basis for high performance. Vitamins give us mental energy. Software developers know that too. So, we do find the odd banana or apple on developers’ desks as well. And the occasional lunchbox probably shows that a few mums are still taking care of their little boys. But we can’t really confirm the fast food myth at all.

Conclusion: Myth refuted.  #eatwhatmakesyouhappy

Myth #5: Software development is a man’s world

But it cannot be refuted that the IT sector, headed by the Bill Gates and Steves Jobs of this world, was and still is a male-dominated domain. According to a recent study by Bitcom the proportion of women in ITC companies – now at 28%  – has risen by around 4 % in comparison to 2015, but there is still a long way to go before we can talk about any radical change taking place here.

Even if this myth cannot be refuted yet, at least developments are continuing in the right direction.

Conclusion: Myth continues to reflect reality. #MoreGirlPowerNeeded