Hello World

It's traditional for the first program a new programmer writes to be one that simply prints "Hello, world" to the computer screen. From there, the next step is usually to make it say something else, like "Hello, Adam", and from there maybe you'd print it 5 times, or ask the user for their name before displaying the hello message.

At this point, programming is really exciting: You decide what is supposed to happen and when, and the computer will do it. If something doesn't work, it's your fault, and not the computers. Given the same instructions, you can always trust the computer to do the same thing, every time. Even after 15 years, it's still the coolest thing in the world that simple words on a screen can do anything from create a simple website with information about your company, through paying your invoices via your phone whilst in the pub with a supplier, or send a rocket to mars. The code and technology underneath is all the same.

I have been a programmer since 1998, long before most people had The Internet, and few people had computers. Those that did probably had "the family computer" in a dining room, lounge, or study, and connected to "The Internet" using their phoneline and a dial-up-modem. I was one of the lucky few, and this gave me access to a wealth of knowledge, and the ability to learn to write computer programs.

Today, people have computers in their pockets with 100 or 1000 times the power and speed of the computers we had back then. Due to the massive increase of information on The Internet, and the greater ability to access it, thousands more people are learning to program every day. On top of this, the UK Government have backed the Year of Code Campaign (and many other governments are backing similar schemes world-wide), which aims to teach as many people as possible to learn to code.

With all of these new people learning to program, it has been estimated that the total number of professional programmers doubles every 5 years.

That's a staggering statistic when put into context, and as I'll show in a moment, has massive ramifications for you and your business; or indeed anyone who employs programmers or commissions software/website projects.

If this figure is correct, then the majority of programmers are under 28 years old. That means out of every 100 professional programmers, 50 have less than 5 years experience; of those remaining, 25 have 5-10 years, 12-13 have 10-15 years and so on. That means for every developer like me, who is just passing 15 years of commercial experience, and 17 years of programming, there are 3-4 less experienced programmers.

This will remain true as long as the exponential growth continues. Time can't heal this problem. In 5 years time, that number will double.

The implications of this are hair raising once you realise one very important thing: Writing software (and creating succesful websites) requires more than just writing code. This would be like hiring a bricklayer straight out of college to build you a new house; or with larger software projects, a newly qualified architect to design you a skyscraper. It's doomed to fail.

Whilst you'll usually get something that looks and works like you expect, there's simply more to it than that. There are hidden pitfalls, techniques to avoid them and other considerations; best practices that you learn over time that more experienced craftsmen consider without thinking, it's a reflex for them, like driving. That's why you can have two things that look the same, but one be successful and the other not.

At Voreti, we treat what we do as a craft; developing software is the last true craft, and it requires the same effort to master as the more traditional crafts and trades. You can't write a "Hello, World" and call yourself a programmer. You have to learn, you have to study, you have to apprentice, and gain experience, and then, after enough time has passed, you have to start to teach what you have learnt to the next generation. Then you have to keep on learning. That's what we do at Voreti, and that's one of the many things that makes us different, and the best choice for your next website or application development project.