Management or the command line

One of the things I do when bored is look at the “hot questions” on Stack Exchange. One of these questions, on the Computer Science Stack Exchange, was about what a CS graduate needs to learn to make themselves hireable as a programmer.

Most of the responses were for things we don’t look for in our junior hires. It’s nice if they know them but we don’t even tend to put them on our job ads.

Then I came across this response which had received a fair amount of up-votes (emphasis as written):

If a CS graduate can’t learn how to use the basic functions git from the command line in a day, they should give up programming and go into management IMHO.

This sort of thing really annoys me. It’s an incredibly common trope in the tech industry that is used to make people feel inferior to the self-proclaimed elite.

The command line is not a pleasant interface. It was designed for single-line output devices and hasn’t seen any noticeable changes since then. Instead, it is kept as something difficult to use so that “real programmers/geeks/nerds/etc” can differentiate between those that belong and those that should be ridiculed for not knowing how to use a computer.

Never mind that graphical interfaces have gone through human interaction studies or that they keep being updated to make them easier to understand, a “real programmer” would never stoop to using something that’s been designed to be easy to use. Because that would remove one of the many barriers to entry in the industry.

At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to. Those that have established themselves in the industry don’t want to make it easy for others to get in unless they’re exactly the same. You can see this in the way that people get mocked for language choice, or editor choice, or OS choice, etc. The only people that are allowed to be wanted in the tech industry are those that met the expectations. With those expectations being built so that the people already in the industry meet them but no one else does.

Whereas, tech really needs people that are different. It’s not hard to find stories how a lack of diversity has caused issues for companies. There was the Xbox’s facial recognition that couldn’t detect dark skin, or how it took Apple a year to add tracking of menstrual cycles to the Health app. Or just every website that’s only expected to work in certain browser.

Tech needs people that can’t use the command line. Tech needs people that have come to the industry later in life. Tech needs people that use Edge.

Tech needs people that are different.

PayPal: simon@simon.geek.nz