How to Trigger a Developer in Five Words or Less


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“HTML is a programming language.”

Now, I give that to most people that probably doesn’t seem like that big of a stretch, but HTML is a markup language. It’s not actually a programming language. A programming language is something that actually has evaluations and functions and other different features to it. A markup language is just simply something that you use to build a markup, a page, or to show how something is going to format. So, “HTML is a programming language” is a pretty quick way to trigger a developer.

“It works on my machine.”

Now, this is one I especially hear all the time as a software development manager where I work with a lot of software developers, and it’s a pretty funny one because frequently QA will pass a bug back, and the developer’s response will be, “It works on my machine.” And so this is one that you can definitely trigger a lot of developers and especially some QA people on this phrase, “It works on my machine.”

“Can you fix my printer?”

So people find that you work on computers, and they immediately think that that means that you can help them fix their printer, which is like one of the most annoying computer problems that you can possibly do. So if you want to see a developer start squirming really quick, just see if they can help you fix their printer because pretty much which anybody in IT industry in general hates it, but for a software developer, this is kind of like going to a surgeon and asking them to work on your car.

“Can you code this on a whiteboard?”

Now, this is something that happens a lot in our view question, and it’s about as uncomfortable and as unnatural as anything. This is like asking a pianist if they can play “The Mozart” on an iPhone. So coding on a whiteboard is one of the most unnatural things that you’ll see, and you’ll see most of the developers squirm pretty quick with this, and yet it’s something that’s frequently asked in almost every coding interview out of there.

“Can you fix my computer?”

This is another great one that’ll get software developers squirming really quick. In fact, most people I know won’t even tell people that they’re a software developer because they’re so worried that they’re going to get their computer dropped off at their house. It’s loaded full of spyware with the expectation that someone will clean it up for you. So again, if you want to see a developer squirm really quick, “Can you fix my computer?” is a pretty quick way to get them to score.

“So you’re a hacker.”

So while this is kind of an interesting one, and it might actually start some interesting conversations with a lot of different developers, the assumption that every single developer works in a dark room staring at lines of code, watching Matrix-style visuals go by is not really the reality of a hacker. It’s not really the reality of a software developer. The real reality of the software developers we work with people every day to help solve problems. We often are automating human tasks and taking these tasks and getting machines to do them for us. So, I guess, in one sense, that might be kind of a hacker, but on the other way of what most people think a hacker is, this really isn’t very super applicable.

“ChatGPT can code it”

This next one is one that’s become much more frequent lately, and it’s chat GPT can code it now, or chat GPT can do your job for you. And this is a really funny one, and it is going to be really interesting to see as Automation and AI continue on in the future. But for right now, chat GPT is a fancy thing that can do some interesting conversations and some really cool party tricks, and a little bit more than that. I understand it is very interesting, and we’re definitely going to be working here at Startuphakk on building out some AI courses. But in the meantime, it still takes a developer to write code, and even if you have an automation service that can spit out code, the likelihood that that code is never going to need to be changed is pretty much nil. And chat GPT is definitely not going to go back and maintain your code for you.

“How long will this take?”

Now, this is what I think of when I am asked for an estimate or when I think of how long it’s going to take. Well, the question “did that happen” begs the question, “what do you mean by happen?” Because when you are dealing with fundamental realities and you pose a question, you have to understand that the reality of the concepts of your question, when you’re digging that deep, are just as questionable about as what you’re questioning. Estimating software development is sometimes like estimating how long a plant will grow. There’s a lot of different variables that can grow into it. There are a lot of different factors. And so, as you think about “how long will it take,” well, as a professional, we should be able to get pretty close with our estimates. This is very difficult sometimes, especially the more complex the question.

“This should be easy, right?”

Now, of course, I’ve actually been guilty of saying particularly as a software development manager. However, as a Dev manager, I find that I kind of have a little bit more insight into that than that. But I love it when somebody who’s never written code or anything before comes to me, asks for a change, or asks for something to be built and that says, “this should be easy, right?” when really they have absolutely no idea what goes into it. So, this is always a really funny one when someone says, “Oh, can we just do this?” or “That should be easy, right?” These are really interesting ones.

“Next, we can refactor that later.”

Now, I’ve also been guilty of saying this before as a Dev manager, but this one always comes back to bite you. If you know you’re doing something crappy as an engineer, stop, fix it, and do it right. Because the chance of you being able to come back and refactor that later is extremely low. So, as with everything, do it right the first time. Cry once. I’ve heard an old saying that says, “Buy quality, and you only cry once.” It kind of goes with coding too. Take the time, do it right, so you don’t have to come back because the chances are you won’t get a chance to come back because the new shiny feature is always going to be a higher priority than you refactoring your code.

“We just need to push.”

So, I’ve also been guilty of this before too, where deadlines are looming, people are expecting something, customers are on the line for something, and you’ve just got to get it out to prod. And this is where you get guilty; you say, “just push it to prod”. So, I am a big believer that done is better than perfect in most cases and that you can always iterate and find things better. Now, a lot of times, you push something, people do look at it and say, “hey, that is good enough”, and you may not even need to go back to it. So, this one I can be guilty of at times as a development manager, and so, but I know that this also triggers developers as well. So, this is my list here of things that trigger developers. Here at startuphakk, we can teach you to become a great software developer. The opportunity to become a software developer gives you the opportunity to dive into one of the best careers around. So, make sure you hit that link below and shout with somebody, and we can get you started today on the best careers possible.


Whether it’s doing some specialized business process. We specialize in taking these specialists in their field and teaching them how to develop and teaching them to become a full stack developer and in the process. What you’re going to get with that is you will get somebody who can become a full stack developer while still being a specialist in their field and this is ultimately going to be, we feel, one of the best hybrids and really be the best benefit for a corporate world who can work with getting these specialized people to work as a developer and then that’s gonna ultimately help them to be really good in their field and I think this is one of the specialties that we’re going to really be working so make sure you check out startuphakk.

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Introduction Hi – I am Spencer Thomason, founder of StartupHakk as well as other companies.  I love talking about the fundamentals of being a developer.  I have been a developer