Not Everyone’s a Special Developer Snowflake

Special Snowflake

There is a prevailing mindset these days, that everyone should learn to code, or that everyone is a potential creative.


Thirty years toiling in the business of writing software, and personally doing a fair amount of copywriting and creative work for enterprise systems, small businesses, and mobile applications have convinced me of just the opposite.

By way of disclaimer, let me openly and honestly say that I am not the greatest software developer in the world, nor the world’s reigning Photoshop master. But I have worked with some of them, on occasion. I have also worked with their evil doppelgangers.

Let’s examine who is pushing this trope / tripe that “everyone is a developer”: for the most part, companies whose business it is to teach people how to code. Or, organizations looking to develop a larger base of developers in a geographical region.

Look – having educational opportunities to promote STEM, STEAM, eSTEAM education – in and of themselves – is fine, and a worthy pursuit.

HOWEVER: the stark reality is that some people are better at programming than others. Some people are more creative.

And some aren’t.

That doesn’t diminish their worth one jot; but we do them a severe disservice by not dissuading them from pursuing a career path that they may not be suited for, and for which no one benefits.

And while not everyone may not be a special programming snowflake, everyone does have something that they are spectacular at. Let’s take the time to promote the development of that, rather than show-horning everyone into a becoming mediocre technocrat.

Why not encourage people to pursue their real passions and talents, rather than have them drink the Yuccie Kool-Aid: the claim that everyone is a coder-creative?

If we really care about preparing people for the brave new world, and living up to their full potential, we need to stop perpetuating the illusion that everyone can take a six week class and be the next programming rock star.

If you’re still not convinced of my argument – take a look at a colleague’s source code. Or their portfolio.

Snowflakes don’t last very long when exposed to heat and light. Neither do frauds and phonies.

Go, and be you.