What Even are "Real" Developers

Real developers.

What even is a real developer? It’s a concept I have to battle a lot as a developer myself and as a manager and trainer of other devs. As with everything, there are gatekeepers; people who feel it is their duty to separate the wheat from the chaff based on arbitrary “rules” and the possession of arcane knowledge.

Allow me to set the record straight. If you code, you’re a real developer. Backend? Real. Frontend? Real. Full-stack? Real. It doesn’t matter; it’s all real and valid.

This absurd idea that only certain developers (often full-stack) are real developers hinders our ability to grow new people in the field. And it disproportionately impacts women and minority groups! It’s a ridiculous unattainable standard that leaves our juniors unable to recognize their successes and appreciate how far they’ve come from when they started. I have a dev who is always so wrapped up in what she doesn’t know, that she fails to see how much she’s learned even though I rely on her to handle the day-to-day of running the team.

I see it constantly, online and in real life.

If you work in software, of any kind, it is your responsibility to push back against this insidious gatekeeping in our field. This industry is best when everyone can participate and learn from one another.

Let’s keep coding open and accessible.