Wern Ancheta

Adventures in Web Development.

Being a Dark Matter Developer Must Be Nice

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It must be nice to be a dark matter developer. But before I go ahead and start going through why its nice to be a dark matter developer let’s make sure that were all on the same boat. First what are dark matter developers?

  • they don’t read blogs
  • they don’t write blogs
  • they don’t follow Paul Irish on Twitter
  • they don’t release code on Github
  • they only learn what their boss told them to learn
  • they don’t know what hacker news is
  • they don’t discuss tech outside of work
  • they don’t go to conferences
  • they only use stackoverflow to seek answers
  • they don’t listen to podcasts
  • they don’t need to update themselves of the cutting edge
  • they don’t experiment on different technologies
  • they don’t learn on their free time
  • they don’t subscribe to newsletters

I’m not saying that this is true for all dark matter developers. But most of the items above are definitely true for some developers even if they don’t necessarily consider themselves DMD’s.

Ok so why?

  • they have lots of time in their hands for the really important things in life (family, friends, hobbies, etc.)
  • they don’t need to filter through all the noise in tech (twitter news feed, newsletters, podcasts etc)
  • they get their job done

Let me dive into it a little bit.

They have lots of time in their hands

DMD’s are free to use all of their free time with the things they want to do. They can just indulge in their hobbies, spend some quality time with their families or just watch season 1-9 of Supernatural or God of Thrones with no care in the world. DMD’s also don’t need to care about the time they spend doing these activities so they can totally immerse themselves and enjoy their time. They don’t need to worry whether they are already outdated. To them programming is just a job. And surely they don’t want to code outside their job. I believe its a good thing. Because they can spend all their free time without ever worrying if they will get left behind.

They don’t need to filter through all the noise in tech

DMD’s don’t care about all the crap that’s happening in the tech scene. They don’t know what Shoptalk Show, Ruby Rogues or JavaScript Jabber is. They don’t know Paul Irish, Ilya Grigorik, Addy Osmani, Steve Souders, Nicole Sullivan, Peter Cooper, or Jeffrey Way is. They haven’t subscribed to JavaScript Weekly, HTML5 Weekly, Web Design Weekly or StatusCode. They only know what they need to know or what they need to know in order to get their job done. They’re only consuming the minimal information needed to survive as a developer. Again I believe its a good thing. Sometimes most of the information from these sources are really unimportant.

They get their job done

Lastly they get their job done and they do it well. Sure they might still be using Dreamweaver (or maybe notepad) in building websites but they get the job done. They might be cranking out procedural code here and there but they’re getting the job done. They might not know what TDD or BDD is. They might not know what linting or static code analysis is but they get the job done. They might not be using the tools (Sublime Test, Chrome Dev Tools, Grunt, SASS, CoffeeScript, Backbone, Angular, Node) that all the cool kids in town are using but they get the job done. They might not be using Frameworks but their code is fast as hell. They might not be writing tests for their code but their program works. They get their job done without ever worrying if their practices are already outdated. Or the tools that they are using can still be improved in order for them to be more productive. I believe there’s a beauty in this because they can just focus on the task at hand like painters or artists.

Closing Thoughts

Of course with anything there are downsides but I just wanted to focus on the positive side of being a Dark Matter Developer in this post. Cheers to all the Dark Matter Developer’s out there! Even if you might not read this because you’re always busy getting things done.

More on DMD’s

If you want to read more about Dark Matter Developers, Scott Hanselman wrote a pretty good post about it: Dark Matter Developers: The Unseen 99%. Another good one is Mat McLoughlin’s: Dark Matter Developer != Bad Developers.