Exactly. 99.9% of developers' blogs aren't worth reading. They're full of articles like "I just wrote my first Go program, and here's what you should know about it!" Please, if I wanted to learn about Go, why would I read something that was written by someone who just admitted he knows almost nothing about it? I'd rather go to golang.org and read the tutorials written by the developers of the language.
Crappy blog posts are crappy, but some are stepping stones into better ones.
I've been feeling like a bad developer because I never write. Then when I try to write, I think wonder why anyone would read what I'm writing (because it's about my first Go program) and I give up. Even when I come up with something relatively novel, I usually just get the info out via StackOverflow.
The point: those useless dev blogs with posts that don't matter to anyone are there because many devs (i.e. me) without much to share, feel obligated to write.
(And no, before you go looking, I don't identify primarily as a programmer, so my G+ is not full of random code snippets.)
A lot of these developer blogs read like spur of the moment publishing. Unorganized, baseless rambling.
For me, personally, blogging and going to conferences is pure marketing. It works too. It results in me and the guys who work with me to have an income, thankfully. It's about demand creation for our services. Many people who are awesome computer scientists and programmers are not looking for that lifestyle. They work for good companies that pay them well to code. They do not have to worry about the non-coding tasks that need to happen for there to be that coder job.
Sometimes I envy their situation, but I am now personally addicted to self-employment, business, and startups. I love coding and do it for my livelihood, but I do not feel that I am called to work as just a programmer for a company.
I do like the analogy still. It's like the dark matter halo that presumably encircles our galaxy. It's unseen but is vitally important for all of our existence.
"Understanding Go and Coroutines as a PHP developer" for example might be useful, and it wouldn't suffer from being written by someone who hadn't absorbed the living spirit of Rob Pike before they wrote it.
Your hypothetical article about Go and coroutines could be very useful, provided that the author has had some significant experience with both Go and PHP (e.g, they've written and maintained non-trivial programs in both languages). Otherwise, it's likely to be full of misconceptions and even errors.
You are not the target market. Those posts exist for the same reason people create a Github account, but never contribute to open source projects. It shows exposure, and a history of interest, to interviewers who google you five minutes before the meeting. Everyone can argue the merits of different interview techniques and quality indicators, but, without a verifiable history of success, you have to start doing something to publicly show merit.
I used to be one of these. I never aspired to move to the Valley, or to found a company. I eventually had an opportunity to try it and have never looked back, but the idea simply would never have occurred to me had I not been approached.
I used to be more active in the niche development fields I got started in, work in a lot more startups but as I've gotten older I've simply directed my free time and energy elsewhere.
Edit: This is also the first time I've heard that term.
I wouldn't say that I'm more risk averse than other developers, but I have a healthy does of perfectionism that tends to get in the way of ever releasing anything. On some level I feel like I'll be judged for anything I put in the public eye if it isn't 100% perfect.
I recently went to my first meetup though, and everyone there was super friendly, so maybe I'll come into the light. :)
His wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrice_Bellard
Damn straight. Good example is a sizable portion of the crap submitted here. Sorry, I really don't care why your startup-that-will-probably-fail-in-two-years picked Meteor and why I should too. I don't care that you had an epiphany about X and it vaguely relates to Y technology. Just useless noise that does nothing but serves to jerk off the author.
I don't have enough time to maintain a decent blog. I could maintain a shitty one, but what's the point of that?
Join a community? I barely have enough time for HN as it is!
Stack Overflow? I contribute sometimes, but once again, it comes down to time. If you have the time, I applaud your contributions. As for me, I'll settle for answering maybe one question a month.
New tech? Sure, that's cool. But I really need to get my software to a working state, and that won't happen if I keep changing the technologies. I'd rather wait for a front runner to emerge before joining in.
Twiiter? No thanks. I get enough aggravation from email.
Meetups & conferences? I've gone to a few, but I've found that I can gain a far deeper understanding of a particular language/technology/paradigm through online articles or books.
About the only thing I leave any kind of footprint with is github, because coding is one creative outlet I can't live without.
According to this paper, 95% of the users on Stack Overflow are "low activity" users, but they provide 50% of the answers.
Those of us who are "dark matter" developers really like working for these small, quiet, solid companies.
It's also a similar story with Stack Overflow. When I think to try and answer questions, they've already been answered by people more knowledgeable than me.
When faced with similar situations, i've always followed my own judgement through research. I can see how this kind of a resource is useful in certain cases, but a ton of the site is just silly gamification.
Time spent on these sites is time that I could have spent watching a video lecture about Scala, or trying a new library.
I guess github is better in this respect since it's about active coding and understanding distributed projects. But I see a ton of forked repos in users' projects with few (if any) of their own code in them. It makes me realize that many cutting edge devs are just filling out the "digital resume" of a programmer. Yet there are obviously some who are driving the industry mixed into the same sources.
signal to noise is difficult to determine in all systems and being current can be a bad indicator in programming. There are tons of badass devs who just learn design patterns and language nuances for "older" languages who can write much more modular/reusable code than those who learn MVC framework after MVC framework. I think..... a lot of them work for Netflix.
(no, not everybody had heard of it already)
there are a lot of these guys out there - i've worked with some, and whilst the generalisation is poorly motivated it is generally accurate. a good proportion of these kinds are in the job for money, stability, parental pressure etc. and care little to improve themselves or their work. they do a 9 to 5, just like you would if you were stacking shelves in a supermarket.
its a rare person who tries to excel at shelf stacking.
practically speaking they get more mileage from finding a different job entirely... 'working your way up' as a path to success is not what it used to be, their are too many layers and too many automatic promotions for time served.
edit: maybe my meaning of 9 to 5 is not clear, but for me its a term that comes from the fixation on time which comes with having a 'job' vs a 'career'
Then that is what I object to. Plenty of people have a 'career' instead of a 'job' and work 9-5. Hours worked is not a great indicator of anything - the guy working until 8pm might have spent three hours of his day messing around doing very little.
This seems really presumptuous to me, though. Many people just don't consider anything but regular work like this as an option, as they just haven't been exposed to other things; this doesn't say anything about how much or little they love their work or wish to excel at it.
Some people are just lazy do-as-little-as-possible drones, sure. But assuming everyone who isn't an entrepreneur is like that is more than a little bit nasty and quite baseless.
i've used the term poorly if you think this - that is clear.
i'm not even thinking of entrepeneurs. i don't consider myself working '9 to 5' even if those are coincidentally my hours... the amount of time i work is much more to do with my desire to fulfil my tasks and deliver.
i've used the term wrongly, but i think of the '9 to 5' mentality as the eagerness to pack up and go home at 5, but yet not wanting to leave early so that you don't get docked minutes in your pay packet.
my point was more to differentiate between those there for survival or routine, compared to those there from desire.
i've met plenty of entrepreneurs who have no passion for what they do and are either terrible or lucky at it... some doing it out of misguided expectation from family or peers. its got nothing to do with that.
I work with other developers and we are constantly collaborating on ideas and technology. I don't believe that makes me a "Dark Matter Developer" because I don't share those conversations publicly.
at least the current discussion anyhow
On the social front: I go to, on average, one half of one work-related conference per year (real world, I go to one conference every other year). I have no use for twitter, facebook, linkedin, or any other "social network", preferring instead old-school forums and the occasional aggregator like HN where the signal-to-noise ratio is quite a bit better. I have a personal blog, updated every few months, that rarely touches on anything tech related, and is read primarily by friends.
On the tech front: I write code, in part, for decade+ old systems, and the rest with old-fashioned, plain-jane java. I write code that will never be used anywhere else, in languages that are neither new, "cool", or "hip" in any way. I keep somewhat up-to-date with big-picture new tech, but I see no reason to delve into any details if it doesn't relate to my work. I enjoy what I do, and the problem solving that goes into it.
I have, perhaps, fallen out of love with the field, and the industry. Perhaps I never had a passion for writing code, preferring instead the theoretical challenges I found while pursuing my degree in computer science.
What I do have: A life away from work, and away from computing. I'm in the middle of a multi-year "bootstrapping" of my own "start-up" -- one that has absolutely nothing to do with computing, and instead has everything to do with my love of woodworking. It should, with effort, provide a secondary source of income for as long as I wish. If I'm extraordinarily lucky, I may be able to make it my primary source of income at some point. There will be no VCs, no big-payout exit. Yet I consider myself just as much of an entrepreneur as any of the silicon valley crowd -- simply one with different goals and a different market in mind.
Now, as a 'dark matter' engineer, I don't have the time to write technical blog material nor do anything that would classify me as a 'matter' engineer. The great tragedy is that I'm producing my best work with real world impact.
You're are coding on a small planet orbiting a small star that will burn out in a few billion years, taking your planet and all of your code with it.
Is it really of any universal consequence if you're producing VB6 during business hours or building a disappearing <whatever> app at an overnight hackathon?
I think not. Code on dark matter developers, wherever the hell you are.
"They can be just as capable as you."
It has been my experience that those with the loudest voices are rarely the best at what they do. Far more often it's the people who prefer to spend that time experimenting or learning from others who are the best.
Maybe I don't need to go to every Django convention ever to be a good programmer. Maybe I measure myself by different standards.
People thought that? WTF.
I don't think this was the original "Dark Matter Developer" definition. If you read the original article (http://www.hanselman.com/blog/DarkMatterDevelopersTheUnseen9...), you will see that he specifically says they don't keep up to date. They just do what they know, go home at the end of a day, and live a life.
However, I know (and know that most of my fellow dark matter peeps know) the latest and greatest out there. We discuss it, take a look at it, and usually come to the conclusion of "been there, done that, not mature enough for our system that handles billions of dollars in transactions annually".
Also, one thing that's bothered me recently with developers is the focus on greenfield development. I've done both green- and brownfield, and find brownfield to be tons more stimulating than greenfield development. I know that a lot of my fellow dark matter folks do too. Constraints are more thought-provoking than "I can do anything".
Comments like these saying 'Oh you are a stupid hipster using node/ror whatever' are basically in the same spirit as 'Oh I'm cooler than you because I use this and that and you are using Java' just the other way round. Thanks for your childish negativity and adding to unneeded stereotypes in the tech community. If you are one of those 'wise' devs that use what is mature and stable and whatnot instead of chasing new trends you should be smart enough to preach that all technologies have their use case and people should use the best tool for the job etc etc… but hating is fun, isn't it.
Job is paid by other person B(a creator)
Person A dies, person B just hires a replacement. World is the same.
Person B dies, company/idea dies, world loses something.
I think hackers want to be the person B and make their mark. It doesn't have to be bogging, running a charity for free part time also counts but it has to be something.
People have this strange idea working a job is contributing, but no it's just breaking even. You just swap work for money <=> not creating.
Sorry, but this is crap. Without people who "just break even," in your estimation, the only people involved in any venture would be the founders, and as soon as someone got good enough to do their own thing, they would. If doing the work a founder can't do -- the tasks outside of his field, the work when the company gets too big for a person or two to wear every hat at the same time, etc. -- nothing gets done.
People who work for pay make possible the things "creators" want to do but can't by ourselves. If that's not contributing, I don't know what is.
Well, actually, world loses nothing. It doesn't care. Humans care, maybe, but you only think they matter because you are one.
Would upvote again :)