It’s the same old story…

Once again the top story on Hacker News was something I’ve read many times before – The 500-mile email – and I won’t lie, I read it again. There are a number of such stories, most developers who’ve been in the industry for some time undoubtedly know quite a few of them. Often about a hard-to-find bug or a laughably incompetent colleague or user, one thing that unites them all is that you can guarantee you’ll see them again; maybe not for a month, maybe not for a year, maybe in a slightly different retelling, but they’ll be back.

The first sentence of the Wikipedia article on lore says:

Folklore (or lore) consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs included in the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group.

Every item on that list applies to the developer community, from the myth of the 10x developer to musicforprogramming; from Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names to Exploits of a Mom; we even have our own idiolect: Heisenbug, YAGNI, kludge; our own revered heroes: Donald Knuth, Marting Fowler, Kent Beck; our archetypal villains: business analysts, users, PHP.

There’s no real conclusion to be had here, I simply found it interesting to realise that we’re not just a group of people sharing a career, we’re an entire (sub)culture. How many other careers have this level of cultural identity? Is there something unique to development and developers that lends itself to this?

The recent StackOverflow Developer Survey suggests that:

Code is life for most devs, and for many coding is a lifetime pursuit.

Is coding more of a lifestyle than a career? Does our population being generally more introverted lead us to embrace shared experience more strongly? Or is it simply that our skills with – and constant use of – technology allow us to share more easily with each other?

Just a shower thought for the day, really…

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