You Are Not A Software Developer

8 December 2018 · Riga, Latvia · comments

When I became a developer, I thought that my job is to write software. When my customer had a problem, I was ready to write software that solves that problem. I was taught to write software.

But what customers need is not software. They need a solution to their problem. Your job is to find the most cost-effective solution, what software often is not.


According to the universal law of software development, more code leads to more bugs:

e = mc²

Or

errors = (more code)²

The number of bugs grows with the amount of code. You have to prioritize, reproduce and fix bugs.

The more code you write, the more your team and the team after it has to maintain. Even if you split the system into micro services, the complexity remains.

Writing well-tested, clean code takes a lot of time. When you’re writing code, other important work is idle. The work that prevents your company from becoming rich.

A for-profit company wants to make money and reduce expenses. Then the company hires you to solve problems that prevent it from becoming rich. Confused by your job title, you take their money and turn it into expensive software.

But business has nothing to do about software. Even software business is not about software. Business is about making money.

Photo by Pepi Stojanovski, taken from Unsplash

Your job is to understand how the company is making money, help make more money and reduce expenses. Once you know that, you will become the most valuable asset in the company.

Stop viewing yourself as a software developer. You are a money maker.

Think about how to save and make money for your customers. Find the most annoying problem and fix it:

  • Is adding a new feature too costly? Solve the problem manually.
  • Is testing slow? Become a tester.
  • Is hiring not going well? Speak at a meetup and advertise your company.
  • Is your team not productive enough? Bring them coffee.

Your job title doesn’t matter. Ego doesn’t matter either.

Titles and roles are distracting us from what matters to our customers – money.


You are a money maker. Thinking as a money maker can help choose the next skill for development. For example:

  • Serverless: pay only for resources you consume, spend less time on capacity planning = 💰

  • Machine Learning: get rid of manual decision-making = 💰

  • TDD: shorter feedback cycle, fewer bugs = 💰

  • Soft Skills: inspire teammates, so they are more productive and happy = 💰

If you don’t know what to learn next — answer a simple question:

What skills can help my company make more money and reduce expenses?

Very unlikely it’s another web framework written in JavaScript.


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