This blog post is brought to you by Khang, our Chief Technology Officer. Khang is based in Vietnam, and spearheads our tracking experience efforts which integrates over 600 logistics carriers globally and tracks millions of parcels.
The world of computer programming is an exciting space to be in. Throughout the 10 years of my career, I have witnessed industry standards emerge, demolished, and resurrected. Serverless, the latest abstraction upon abstractions that mankind call programming, has had its glorious days and is now probably at its peak. And after decades of hiatus, deep learning is now back in full force.
As we get better at reinventing programming paradigm, streamlining development process, and specializing careers, new crops of developers come into the workforce. Their perspectives are drastically different from their previous generations. But does growing up with an iPhone in their pockets necessarily mean these developers have it easier?
Young developers – Fast, energetic, tenacious?
A stereotypical view of young developers is that they have little social skills, but make up for it by being fast, energetic, and tenacious. I’ll agree with the latter two qualities. Programming is neither easy nor relaxing. It is a demanding job requiring intense concentration.
Young coders have the energy and tenacity, especially when combined with pizza and coffee. They can stick to their computers till 2am in the morning, working on intermittent quirks of an API they released earlier. At the same time, they will be delighted by the new knowledge they gained, knowing that their work matters.
That, however, does not mean young developers get things done faster.
I have had interns accidentally drop a database, or delete something they shouldn’t have, all within their three months stints with us. Contrary to popular belief, neither do they learn faster. I am in the camp of believing that as one progresses in his career, he learns faster.
Build > Break > Do it again
Programming knowledge is cumulative. “New” ideas usually would have popped up in a slightly different form before. Typically, young developers, outside of school work, do not spend time exploring such as tinkering assembly or the 7 layers of the Internet. They reap the benefits of senior developers who worked out the details and packaged them nicely so that they are more approachable by others.
Of course, that’s not to say that young developers relying on more layers of abstraction is a bad thing. I’m glad that I’m writing my post in plain English and not HTML or CSS. That’s how we progress as a species – we rely on abstractions built by generations before.
However, current mature technology favors quick iterations and shorter time to market. Now, writing a new software is less about constructing and more about figuring out the right combination of gluing things together. The rise of function as a service means it’s easy for young developers to build ideas. Does it work? No? Blow it up. Do it again. All before lunch starts.
Value of experienced developers
Though blessed with a beginner’s mind, I think young developers still have a long way to go. I seldom come by middle-aged developers, partly because IT is a relatively new profession in Vietnam. Or perhaps, most of them have moved onto the management level by then.
The rare guys who have remained hands-on throughout their career is really a force to be reckoned with. In addition to maturing as a developer, they have learned the art of leadership. They are able to delegate appropriate work to juniors, and balance between net contribution and learning new skills. This saves both their time and resources spent on projects. They also tend to see the bigger picture more clearly, both in terms of product scope and project life cycle, as well as defining priority issues.
In my experience, young developers are intelligent, hardworking, and excellent at solving the problems they are given. While more experienced developers are also intelligent, with the time they have put into honing their craft, they are armed with the foresight to predict problems that will arise in 6 months’ time.
Whether you’re just starting out or experienced in your field, we’re always on the lookout for amazing team members to be part of our journey to transform the logistics space – apply here to join us!