Code Renaissance is about building great teams and great software. By exploring best practices, team interactions, design, testing and related skills Code Renaissance strives to help you create the team and codebase that you've always wanted.

The Renaissance Developer

You may be familiar with the concept of the Renaissance Man, someone who, like Da Vinci, explored art, science and writing and excelled at all of them. This got me thinking -- what would it mean to be a renaissance developer? It takes a lot of time to master one field of study let alone many, but following the concept of the T-Shaped person I think it is important that we branch out, explore related fields and become as well rounded as we can, with the idea of the renaissance developer being something to strive for.

A true renaissance developer would be someone who is not only a excellent developer in multiple languages, but who also appreciates all of the ancillary fields in their work (business, design, marketing, configuration management, testing, etc.) and strives for a level expertise in as many of these fields as possible. Because of this their applications should not only be well coded, but they should also look good, be extremely usable, secure, testable, maintainable, configurable, scalable and easily deployed and thoroughly meet the needs of the users and the company.

That said, what skills does the up and coming Renaissance Developer need? Well here's a short list of things that I think are important:

  • Multiple language/enviroment expertise
  • Interaction Design(IxD)
  • User Experience(UX)
  • User Interface(UI) Design
  • Information Architecture(IA)
  • Software Architecture
  • Graphic/Visual Design
  • Security/Hacking (know thy enemy)
  • Configuration Management
  • Software Testing
  • Marketing (not bad marketing, like our product sucks but we want you to think it's great and buy it anyway; good marketing)
  • Typography
  • Business
  • Writing

There may be more that I haven't considered yet, but those are some quick qualifications for a renaissance developer. I have some followup post on many of these already in the works, so I'll be talking on this more.

Oh and I'm not implying by any of this, or by my blog in general, that I think I have "arrived". I believe in continual learning. I think that becoming what I now refer to as a renaissance developer is a lofty goal and, having found a excellent destination, I have set my course in that direction. I invite you to come along on the journey.

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8 - What do you think?:

Anuj D said...

By Business, are you covering: Marketing, Branding, Product Deliverance to End-User, and Support Management?

DH said...

By profession I am a software/web developer. I am not familiar with the term "Support Management"; I have however touched on the other areas you mentioned in my professional career and pursued them areas of study and as topics on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Im a generation Y, mid twenty something that has grown up with understanding technology, not intricate bits and assembly as we've been fortunate to be abstracted from it with 4GL (thank god). We learned Object oriented (OO) design and we used WYSIWYG to develop sites (UI design) and as we graduated just before the recession..we were snapped up by big corps that had older non techy people that worked with sooper techy people. We were able to cross that T! So they let us talk to customers and talk to sales and talk to tech. And the guys writing management consultancy books saw this and named it T-Shaped people. Its all relative to something else.

The reason Da Vinci was able to explore all those areas was because at that time all those books that were banned from the dark ages were started to be read again. So Da Vinci could join dots and drew a man inside a wheel with lots of legs. He didn't need to create his own language to run a spreadsheet app on.

And lets face it guys, gen y is more savvy thanks to watching the apprentice and all legacy busines systems being maintained by purist geeks that love to code. Good for them! Skills gap in a few years time... whoooo. I'll be a consultant just in time!

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