Herding Code 234: Dylan Beattie on Social Impacts of Technology and the Meaning of Developer Seniority

Download / Listen: Herding Code 234: Dylan Beattie on Social Impacts of Technology and the Meaning of Developer Seniority

At DevSum Stockholm, Jon talks to Dylan Beattie (@dylanbeattie ) about the impacts our technology choices have on our world, different kinds of seniority for software developers, and how to get started as a conference speaker.


  • (01:00) Dylan explains how he juggles writing and delivering several keynote presentations (and a bit about the Rockstar programming language). He talks about writing a presentation as an essay first, rather than starting with slides.
  • (06:52) Jon asks Dylan about the themes he’s hoping to bring up in his presentations. Dylan talks about the difference between the things we’re building software to do versus the actual important things we should be focusing on as humans. What is the cost of chasing the new and shiny things, and why can’t we be satisfied with the technology we have?
  • (13:10) Jon asks Dylan about how to convince people to act in the long term interests of humanity. Dylan talks about YouTube’s perfect user is someone who watches movies nonstop for the rest of their life. Jon and Dylan discuss the effectiveness and difficulties of legislating technology.
  • (17:05) So what can we do? Dylan says a good place is to explain things just one level deeper to our non-technical friends. And… heresy alert… you don’t have to build software on the absolute newest technology, either. Jon and Dylan talk about how many of our modern application experiences are inferior to basic HTML.
  • (21:50) Jon asks how developers should advance their careers. Do we need to become managers? Dylan discusses the concept of a “senior developer” and describes four strands: management, leadership, expertise, and mentoring.
  • (24:55) Dylan talks about the example of how Linus Torvalds reacted when confronted over hostility on Linux mailing lists. One important thing is that Linus didn’t put the responsibility of telling him how to fix his behavior on those who confronted him over it.
  • (27:15) Jon asks Dylan how we can apply this to our careers. Dylan discusses the tradeoff – growing in one area will likely cause others to suffer. He explains how to progress in each of these areas, and explains how impactful mentorship doesn’t need to be a big time commitment.
  • (31:00) Jon asks for advice for developers who are interested in getting started with public speaking.