The other day, there was an article and some discussion on LinkedIn about 37signals (the company behind Basecamp and Hey) leaving the cloud and going back to running their own servers.

This post isn’t about that exactly, but about a comment I found interesting. It asked:

How do you think this will impact your ability to source and retain talent? Often hear devs insisting on working with state of the Art cloud infrastructure to build skills and qualification.

The response was (emphasis mine):

Much of the modern toolchain on-prem is the same. Whether that be VM management, pipelines, or even k8s. But we also aren’t optimizing for resume-driven developers. So don’t really care about that.

This reminded me of some of thoughts I’ve had about not exactly résumé-driven development, but more importantly, how engineers, can remain up to date and relevant in the job market.

I think it’s easy to agree that résumé-driven development isn’t good, certainly not for the company, but also not for the engineers in the long run. Having said that, I don’t think we can just dismiss the root causes for this practice.

The two main reasons that come to mind when thinking about why there is RDD are:

  • Technical people often feed off the challenges, the regular exploration and learning, so if work becomes monotonous, dissatisfaction is a matter of time for many
  • Given the fast pace of the industry, engineers tend to suffer FOMO (I know I do), in regards of remaining relevant not only in their current job and its future challenges, but also having relevant skills to be desirable in the job market, when the time comes to look for new options

Disregarding these worries, dismissing as people just wanting to do RDD, isn’t helpful.

I can speak only for myself of course, but for me, I need to find a balance in my roles. The business goals should, obviously, be the number one priority, not just for the sake of the organization, but also for myself, as I want to be part of building something useful, not just toy projects. However, I also need to keep learning new things regularly, experimenting with new technologies and approaches, not only because that’s a big part of what motivates me, but also because I want to continue to have the adequate skills to be relevant in this fast paced industry. If I feel like the work I’m doing is harmful for my career, of course I’ll start considering my options.

We could also continue the discussion further, going into why organizations should, for their own benefit, keep up to date with the latest technologies and practices, but in this very quick post, I just wanted to keep the spotlight on the technical folks.

What’s your take?

Thanks for stopping by, cyaz! 👋

PS: keep in mind the post is, as always, based on my experience and opinion, not backed by studies, or anything like that, so take it for what it is.

PS2: there’s more to a role than technical challenges, but I wanted to keep this post focused on that.

PS3: the LinkedIn discussion mentioned at the top just gave me the idea for this post, I’m not in any way commenting on specifics of that context.