Anyone Can Be a Programmer, Right?

Published by marco on

The post on Reddit called Someone asked me to make a site for them and I don’t know how the fuck I’m supposed to go about it. is about exactly what it sounds like it’s about. Amid the flurry of comments with recommendations on how to pretend he (or she) knows how to build a web site by using tools he’s (or she’s) never heard of, I chimed in with,

What is it about software that makes people who have never done it think that they can do it professionally?

What if your neighbor had heard you were a carpenter and had asked you to make a dining-room set for “good money”? Would you watch YouTube videos about how to make furniture and then charge money for the first furniture you ever made?

What about if they’d asked for a haircut/trim/style/dye? Would you just go for it, after having asked around on /r/coiffeur for a few minutes?

Or maybe they’d heard you were a chef and offered “good money” to cook their Thanksgiving dinner for them? Would you risk doing that?

Probably not, because if you’ve never done any of those things, you’re not good at them and charging for doing them can only backfire horribly.

Unless your neighbor is a sap and a fool, in which case go for it.