Why I love our industry

I was thinking today how blessed I feel for being a part of the worldwide web development community (and the broader programming community). In a world where throwing shit at others is an acceptable way of climbing to the top, our industry is a breeze of fresh air. Here are a few reasons why I find our industry unique, in a very good way:

  • In which other industry is it common for people to spend several hours, days or in some cases even months, working on something to give it away for free, just to help people?
  • In which other industry do people help you and promote you just because they think you’re good, without getting anything out of it?
  • In which other industry do people listen to you, not because of your titles, degrees and “decades of experience”, but because of what you actually know?
  • In which other industry can you go to a big professional conference with jeans and a t-shirt and be in the majority? (And the best part is, even if you don’t like that kind of outfit and you prefer to wear a suit, you still fit in, cause appearances just don’t matter)
  • Judging whether someone’s work is good is a very rational and objective process (unlike arts). Sure, the various criteria have different weights for every person, but the criteria are the same for everyone, more or less (correctness, speed, maintainability, readability etc).
  • Even though it’s a male dominated field, I’ve never* experienced any discrimination or lack of respect due to my gender. Quite the contrary actually.
  • I’ve yet to meet a developer that lacks a sense of humor.
  • Work for us is our passion, not a chore. Yes, there are passionate people in every field, but in our industry it’s the norm, not the exception.
  • You don’t need to hide your geekiness. Instead, you’re encouraged to embrace it.

Yes, I know that not all of them are true for every single person that happened to be a web developer. I’m talking about the part of the industry that’s active and that I meet in conferences, meetups, twitter etc.

So, what are your reasons for liking our industry, if any? Lets keep this post happy and not whine about what we DON’T like please. 🙂

*Well, except one bad joke once, but he recently said he’s sorry and his intentions were good throughout, so I don’t count it.

  • Anonymous

    Personally, I the longevity. Made a web site back in ’98 and it’s still working in modern browsers 🙂

    Also, how fast good ideas spread. Sharing is caring, people.

    • I agree with the first point, although when I say “industry” I’m more referring to the people, the community, not the work per se. That’s why I didn’t mention anything about it (I love it too, but that would require a 2nd post!).

      Agree on the 2nd one!

  • I  agree 110%. For the most part, I love how the community is so engaging, the fact that we all share a common passion and we work alongside each other with great respect. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

  • I love how our job is our community. Architects don’t all have one “building complex” they all worked one to discuss their trade. I bet they don’t even have a building built with the purpose of said meetings. But developers & designers all have the communal internet that we have built and shaped together, and we’ve built sites that further our craft as well as fostering community in the same move.

    • billy bob

      Well – Architects would have to have some sort of “community” to share ideas (not a phyiscal building per se) in order to develop structural standards – hurricane specs – load balancing and so on – otherwise we’d all still be living in thatched log cabins – going down dirt roads on our horse-drawn buggies by kerosene lantern.

  • Michael Butler

    When I was starting out a few years ago, I had done a little bit of web development, and a little bit of desktop application development, and a some graphic design work. I wasn’t sure which direction to take. Now that I’ve been full-time web development for a few years I am so glad I did and wouldn’t want to do anything else (except maybe mobile apps). 
    The community is great and you can do almost anything on the web!

  • What I love about our industry is openness to ideas. If I do not like something in a library, I can suggest changes. Heck, now with github, I can actually fork changes! If shove gets to push, there isn’t any friction of starting from scratch either. A few months ago we were discussing an academic friendly version of jQuery. Its things like these that me proud to be part of such a amazing community.

  • What a lovely post, Lea 😉
    I whole-heartedly agree ~ I feel I owe our community my career. When asked how I learnt my skills the answer is that  I am self-taught but this is not accurate as far as I’m concerned. I learnt from all the lovely geek and sharing spirits online. 
    And now, still learning all the time – it is amazing and wonderful how much help I’ve received from various people online, helping me solve little and not so little coding problems, sending me code snippets to help me along … and more. Of course I try to give back as much as I can as well ~ and you’re so right, the communal spirit is what makes it all so beautiful and lovely 🙂

  • I  agree 110%. For the most part, I love how the community is so engaging, the fact that we all share a common passion and we work alongside each other with great respect. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

  • I love how the whole industry aims to make things simpler, not only for users in terms of UI and features (although that’s cool shit as well) but also for the rest of the development community.

  • Very good post Lea! I agree with most of points (but not all of them I can apply for myself but I hope I would later 🙂

    Another thoughts:
    — I like fast resulst. One can make a working website in a week or so and see hot it will work.
    — In which other industry are there so many beautiful and smart girls? 🙂

    • Sonyasmoke

      Fashion industry?

      • No, no, in fashion industry girls are stupid and ugly 🙂

        • billy bob

          professional cheerleaders
          pro volleyball

  • What an excellent post, I agree wholeheartedly. What I like is the fact that there *is* a community. I think in other industries there’s a lot of competition going on, people trying to outdo their peers. The image I have of our industry is that people do try to outdo their peers, but almost never in a malicious way. The goal always is to make things better and if the developer who’s code you’re trying to improve takes your improvements and finds a way to make it even better, you rejoice together, instead of bitching about it.

    And of course, your last point: being geeky is a plus in our industry, not something to be frowned upon 🙂

  • I was about to like your post but then decided it deserved more! I love the community around our industry, it is the best industry to work in. This reminds me of Chris Heilmann | Reasons to be cheerful ( http://vimeo.com/16249024 ). Nice start to the day to read this :o)

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  • Jrub

    You’re an idiot

  • Lea,

    Great post! I concur with pretty much everything and as a 40-year old who just switched careers last year, I can attest to the fact that the industry is very non-judgemental. If you have a great portfolio, the sky is the limit, regardless of your background. I only wish I had entered the field of Web Development sooner!

  • I love how welcoming the community is. If you’re struggling with some code, throw a question out on Twitter and it’ll almost always get answered. It’s also very welcoming to newcomers, the pros are more than happy to point you towards a website, a book, or a conference that provides your next step.

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