Programming blogs try to distil wisdom, pass on advice, inform their readers of good practices. The authors of blogs I read, tend to be modest of their own abilities – willing to offer advice, but willing to stand corrected. I like this trait: less rock-star, more egoless programmer.
One of the common issues bloggers have, is getting their information to the screens of those who need it most. Almost every programmer I know could name a “hopeless” programmer. Someone they have come across during their careers that really just cannot code. These are often the kind of people who should be taking an active interest in learning; but generally, they don’t. In other words, they do not read the blogs that could possibly help them to improve their work. This is what I refer to as “the Programming Bloggers’ Lament”
There is a simple explanation as to why these sorts of programmers do nothing to improve their skills: Learning would take effort. These coders may not be particularly lazy people. There is more to life than work – and to them, programming is just work. Anyone with a healthy “work-life balance” (as the trendy ones call it) deserve respect. It is worthwhile noting that the key word is “balance”, which indicates to me that diligence in the “work” side of the equation is still required.
So, how do you reach these sorts of people? First of all, I am convinced that not every programmer I have met, should be one. As I have suggested before, if patience is your trump card when it comes to programming, then maybe you are in the wrong career. Presuming that “improving” is a possibility, mentoring and team leadership are the best ways to reach these kinds of programmers. In a positive atmosphere, everyone will seek to improve their skills. You really cannot change other people. They have to want to change, before it will happen. Even then, they really have to want to change with a kind of freakish determination before they are likely to do so. The best you can hope for, is to inspire them to be better. Continual guidance of these people is not ideal, but may be necessary. Sometimes, you will never be able to get them to an end-goal such as “being a great programmer”. Sometimes the best you can hope for is getting them to a level of acceptable competence and professionalism that allows them to admit when some task is beyond them.So if you know someone who you wished would take more of an interest in reading programming blogs, then you are probably wishing for the wrong thing. Use the lessons you learn from reading blogs to pass them on to those who need to know them the most. The bottom line is: if you know someone who will only spend a minimal amount of effort on their work, then that is the “price” you must make the lessons they need to learn.