Developers aren't Nerds

Confused Person listening to me

Are Developers Nerds?

For the longest of time, I was under the impression that developers and programmers, for the most part, are as or even more so interested in technology, tools, efficiency and productivity as I am. This came from the somewhat outdated understanding that the barrier of entry into programming was mentally taxing and required fucking around with compiling, development environment et al.

And while this clearly incorrect preconception has been debunked for a while, it is only recently that this fucking myth was laid to rest for me.

After recently conversing with some fellow developers and mentioning LSPs, Vim, Dotfiles, linters and other, supposedly, common things, I was met with a blank stare. People, for whom writing code was a calculated decision (many of which have completed a BSc in Computer Science), just don't give a fuck about what IDE they use, how much they have to move their hands between their keyboard, or what colorscheme they use or which fucking terminal they run.

Developers are NOT (neccessarily) Nerds

It is when I realized (and accepted) that the barrier of entry into development is now lower than ever, that IDEs are super easy to use and that, for the most part developers are actually programmers, I understood that (no offense) programmers are just more skilled monkeys than the rest of us with a keyboard instead of a grenade.

They complete their assigned task, in the language they learned and are tasked to code in without caring about the tools they use, how much they move the mouse around, staying up-to-date on the latest and greatest HN articles or what new developments are being made in either their domain or others.

The reality is that developers and nerds are a venn diagram with varying degrees.

A Developer AND a Nerd

I'm still learning to accept this fact, and it's funny how, at least internally, this fact "bothers" me, perhaps because I consider myself to be highly curious (perhaps due to ADHD) about everything and anything (which is both a blessing and a fucking curse), thus a developer and a nerd.

Honestly? It's still wild to me, but then again, on the other hand, I am envious of others as they work and live and experience bliss that I will not get to experience - the bliss of not giving a fuck. I have a tendency to get blackholed into tweaking, which is why I am always trying to stay mindful of the types of tools I choose.

For as though as I try and keep the tools I use minimal and functional, it still requires some fucking around to get them as I want them to behave, but the other side of the scale seems much scarier to me - accepting, and using, what to me seem like insane defaults.

Developers AND Nerds

The conclusion here, is that I was wrong in my expectations and that while I can share a new working methodology or Nvim plugin I found with a colleague, I need to accept the fact they might not even know what I am talking about and that they absolutely don't give a shit.

Still, I would probably insist on the fact that if everyone were a bit more interested in the tools we use, how they work and how they can be improved on an individual level, we all could collectively benefit in the end.


To conclude (and clarify), this is not some kind of hot take, or a demeaning rant or praise towards any group whether you do development as a passion or a 9-to-5 job, nor is the intention to convert you from one group to the other - you do you, if it makes you happy.

I don't live in a bubble, and personally I think I slot somewhere in the middle, given that with some things like themes or colorschemes I usually opt in for a monochrome variant and rarely customize beyond that, and daily drive an iPhone the settings of which I rarely modify (After having used an Android and fucking around with ROMs and Themes for years) yet happy to learn things like NeoVim and foray into Lua because it looks.. fun.

So, next time you sit down to code, maybe take a moment to explore a new tool or tweak your existing setup. Worst case, you might just learn something new or scratch that hidden itch you didn't know you had and contribute to a more efficient workflow for everyone with your newfound experience.