Developers need PR

Us developers have a bit of a PR problem, and by “us developers” I don’t mean media agencies that hire in technical expertise on a per-project basis, that have marketing and sales teams dedicated to selling themselves and hunting down the next pay-check. I mean “us developers”, the guys that those other guys actually hire in, the ones that press the keys, think the deep thoughts and construct from nothing what people end up interacting with on their iScreens.

Traditional perception paints us as weird, socially-inept whizz-kids with bad hygiene, and to be sure I’ve met a fair few in my time. But, contrary to that popular belief (and to that of Hollywood – thanks Jurassic Park) the rest of us are just normal guys and gals, doing the same normal things that other normal people do. Visit friends and family, eat, sleep, drink, and for the most part, wash fairly regularly. The unfortunate thing is, much like my fellow developer colleagues, I don’t have a marketing budget to construct a campaign shouting about our normalcy, and I’m not sure anyone would listen even if I did.

We’re also, much like other creatives, kinda shy. We prefer to spend our time sat quietly focused on a screen, deep in thought, creating excellent apps, rather than going out schmoozing and playing golf. We also tend not to sing our own praises or throw such praises into other peoples’ faces, no matter how it would benefit us. We just tend not to be wired up in that “in-your-face” way.

BUT that doesn’t mean we don’t do excellent work, it also doesn’t mean we can’t work with clients, with designers, artists, authors, project managers in pursuit of that excellence. And it certainly doesn’t mean that if you find someone that doesn’t fit into the traditional developer “mould” that you are somehow compromising on technical excellence.

In fact, far from it. Some of the best developers I’ve ever worked with have been obscenely good at golf, been able to talk into the wee hours about non-Star Trek-related media, and can think of nothing better than working closely with a company and their designers to create products of inestimable quality for all concerned. I have even heard, from sources that prefer to remain anonymous, that some of us are even a pleasure to work with.

So when you look at your next digital project, try thinking about the potential that a partnership with a real-life bona-fide developer could bring. Think about the possibilities for both parties to learn and grow together, about the joys of collaborative overlap between your industry and theirs, and about the return on investment that a developer with very few overheads can bring to the party.

Who knows, it could be the most pleasant and mutually beneficial surprise you have this year.

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