Rockstar development, embracing failure & tech podcasting – Joshua Graham

Methodologies & Skills Development
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Joshua is a Senior Technical Consultant at Computer ConQuest and a co-host of the Getting Apps Done podcast.

At 14 Josh could boast he owned the most powerful computer in town. He owned a Pentium 166 with 8mb of RAM. It was at this point he immediately fell in love with computer and programming. After a lot of trial and error, teaching himself to code, Josh built a career for himself as a software developer.  

He’s now got so many coding languages under his belt he can’t fit them all on his CV. He’s now teaching others how to become software developers and building communities to support individuals at every point of their coding journey. 

Rockstar developers vs software ninjas 

On paper, a “rockstar developer” sounds really good. They can develop software ten times faster than other tech pros. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone that capable? But there are reasons why you should be hesitant of using terms like ‘rockstars’, ‘ninja’ & ‘wizard’. Josh shared his thoughts on the use of these types of creative job titles in the podcast. 



Liam: So rockstar developers are bad. But what about software ninjas? 


Joshua: I read something about this the other day. The article I was reading referenced the Websters Dictionary definition of a ninja. To put it bluntly, ninja’s were bad people. They weren’t pleasant.

I do understand the ideas behind these creative job titles. I can see why people might think its a good idea to use terms like ‘ninja’. They’re extremely talented and highly skilled. The use of all these titles boils down to one thing. Its how you interpret talent.   

A lot of the ways we interpret talent is completely wrong. We’re looking at it completely the wrong way. I like what you said about problem-solving Liam, I tell people this all the time: I’m not a software developer because I love software development.

I’m a software developer because I enjoy solving business problems, specifically business problems. When I began my software career my driver was to solve problems and it still is. 

 Further Resources 

Free Code Camp 

Getting Apps Done Slack Community

Getting Apps Done

Show Notes:

00.31 Josh’s career story 

01.55 Working at Computer ConQuest 

03.15 The evolution of technology communities 

04.39 Starting Getting Apps Done

06.14 Learning via teaching

07.10 Getting Apps Done Slack community

08.12 Trying to catch Rockstar developers

09.24 Escaping the rockstar developer mindset

10.44 Removing the cult of the rockstar

12.05 Creating an environment to fail

13.53 Hiring people who will add to your culture

14.55 Hussle culture

17.52 Alternatives to technical tests 

19.41 Rockstar developers vs software ninjas

21.04 Don’t fit problems to solutions 

23.00 Where are rockstars lacking

24.13 Should everyone learn how to code?

25.06 Further resources 

26.07 Where can we find Getting Apps Done podcast