01 December 2004

Software Developers, 16th Century Masons; Superior Skills, What's not to like?

Software developers just like the 16th Century Masons, are craftsmen. But the latter has Lodges which serves as workshop and store where they keep tools and interacts with other craftsmen to sharpen and improve their skills in effect they were able to build massive structures that lasted for centuries. Obviously, they were preferred by kings, nobles and churchmen to build their castles, town halls, colleges and cathedrals which made them influential and essentially wealthy. As a result, their organization became attractive to non-craftsmen or non-operatives such as lawmakers, businessmen, military officials etc. who has no direct business with masonry. Contrary to software developers, 16th Century Masons don't have a systematic way of training, they obtained their skills from their fathers, journeymen, peers or other resources while software developers obtain theirs during college or in a vocational training. But within the context of building high-quality structures, masons have higher success rates than software developers building supposedly high-quality applications.

The "medieval guilds" and the "users' groups" in principle, functions similarly except that the latter is more of a "speculative" in nature rather than "operative". Why is it so? because the early "medieval guilds" work on really serious projects and not just discuss and debate stuff putting their skills at its finest. Only the rich and powerful can afford the services of a mason because his craft is always stunningly marvelous.

Since the "users' groups" of today has never churned out high-quality crafted applications they failed to influence and failed to win the respect of the CTOs and CIOs who are the "rich and powerful" in the area of software development craft. But time will come that the focus is not solely in building better software but building better software developers.

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