Cloud Native / Culture / Development / Contributed

Software Development and Freedom to Create

8 May 2017 4:00am, by

Abby Kearns
Abby Kearns is the Executive Director for the Cloud Foundry Foundation. She is a true tech veteran, with an 18-year career spanning product marketing, management and consulting at a mix of Fortune 500 and startup companies. At the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Abby was responsible for structuring and executing operational and strategic initiatives, as well as leading the User Advisory Board and Industry Special Interest Groups. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was part of the product management team at Pivotal, focusing on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

What’s more important to you: the tools you use to create cloud apps or the freedom around creating them? If you’re like the developers we talk to, tools come and go, but freedom is a quality that endures and it motivates everything you do.

The creative process that results in getting a computer to do what you want it to — and seeing the end result actually work — are both crucial. When you can spend more time coding rather than sitting in meetings, maintenance, or other mundane tasks, work is more fun. It’s enjoyable. Meetings, not so much.

If you’ve been working in the cloud for some time, you are accomplishing much more than you could in the past. A task you might have spent days on before is a quick API call now. Development cycles are accelerating. So much is automated, and the time you used to spend on routine tasks is freed up — giving you time to spend on the interesting stuff.

And as you’re doing more, your role is evolving. It’s not just that you’re the first person to see new technology or play with it; your recommendations — and code — now drive top line revenue. You’re no longer a cost center; you’re redefining your business.

Not Cogs in the Wheel

Some companies get this. Others don’t. Managers who recognize your expertise and the value of what you deliver are likely fully embracing digital transformation. Too often, however, we hear from developers who feel like they’re not valued. Who feel that their managers treat them like cogs in a wheel, or like assembly line workers. They ask you to do more, and deliver more, and do it faster.

If you’re not valued, hang in there. The good news is that because you’re on the front lines, you’re able to investigate and play with new technology. This tinkering leads to learning. And learning leads to coming up with great ideas and doing a stellar job.

Enterprise IT is changing quickly, and with the pressure of work deadlines, sometimes it’s challenging to keep up. As we found in our “Identifying the Developer Gap” report, companies increasingly choose training, rather than outsourcing or hiring, to keep up with the growing need for more developers. That’s why we recently launched the Cloud Foundry Certified Developer certification and training program. Training and certification are practical solutions that reward both you and your organization, allowing you to flourish.

My hope is that as companies hire thousands of more developers, they won’t think of you as cogs in a wheel, but rather, recognize you’re leading the way and allowing you to showcase more of your talents.

Freedom vs. Constraint

This freedom to create means allowing you to focus on solving interesting problems while avoiding processes that get in your way.  Some of the best toolings actually put constraints on what you do — but somewhat ironically, these constraints enable more creativity (and even freedom, down the line) as they streamline less interesting requisite tasks. Platforms are a perfect example of a constraint that expedites the overall process, but ultimately gives you the freedom to create. Tools are just drudgery without freedom.

Check out the results of our recent survey, What Developers Really Want, and let me know what you think.

The Cloud Foundry Foundation is a sponsor of The New Stack.

Feature image from Muhammad Masood via Unsplash.

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