This was originally posted over on my LinkedIn profile...
Every now and then I find time to reflect on the state of my chosen industry. And I suppose it is appropriate to do so as my 25th year in IT tails off to its end (along with my existing contract).
When I started out back in 1989 PC's were a novelty, Token ring the rage and mainframes pretty much dominated the playing field. The software we worked with was predominantly developed in house and I still had hair - none of them grey.
I don't believe that there has been any other industry that has been so readily and so rapidly globally adopted. Who would have predicted back then that smart devices in all shapes and sizes would have become so integral to our lives - fridges with screens and internet connectivity were science fiction.
With any rapidly growing industry the peripheral services are quick to spot the opportunity to make a living from it. IT in general and software development more specifically have drawn more than its fair share of attention from all avenues and entire industries have flourished because of it. Software methodologies, project management, audit, sales, pre-sales etc. etc. have all joined the fray, but at what cost to a rather humble, creative endeavour.
I love writing a piece of software. I have written or designed many in my career. Sometimes for fun, mostly to earn a living. And during this time I have noticed a substantial increase in attention from those who wish to have a stake in the final product.
Now more than ever there are architects, business analysts, project managers that want designs, documentation and code reviews - don't get me wrong there is place for all these things - and more than focusing on the quality of such underlying artifacts are more concerned with just having them and being able to tick the boxes.
This bureaucracy is more evident in large business where COBIT, ITIL and other audit processes are the order of the day. And it is these onerous, pen pushing meddlers that are killing the IT star.
I have met a couple of real IT stars. Development gods are few and far between. These are the creatives who can work magic in code. Many of them have forged their own paths outside of corporates for this very reason. Some of the younger, up coming stars have no intention of getting "real" jobs and are forging their own trails - but I think that is a discussion for another post.
Real developers should be cared for and tolerated (they often have interesting idiosyncrasies - like their peers in the ad industry). More now, than ever before, good software (think of all that cool stuff in the App Store) is required and to do this we need great developers, unfettered and unleashed. This is not a real engineering discipline, but a creative and so we need to give a little more - to ultimately get more.