Tech snake oil-marketing and cargo cult programming

📄 BetterWays.dev wiki page | 🕑 Last updated: Apr 29, 2023

Two first comments in this HN thread: Will Kubernetes Collapse Under the Weight of Its Complexity? sums this issue well:

This whole image, to me, represents a big problem with software engineering today: Cloud native landscape

The industry is full of engineers who are experts in weirdly named "technologies" (which are really just products and libraries) but have no idea how the actual technologies (e.g. TCP/IP, file systems, memory hierarchy etc.) work. I don't know what to think when I meet engineers who know how to setup an ELB on AWS but don't quite understand what a socket is...

The overemphasis on products is a real problem because it makes the industry so susceptible to marketing snake-oil.
Who would trust a doctor who proclaims his expertise in terms of brand names: "I've got ten years of experience in Cipro and Amoxil. Lately I've been prescribing Zithromax too! It's exciting to write that big Z. I really like Pfizer's community, their Slack is so helpful."

Unfortunately, it's incredibly easy to sell snake oil in our industry today. Tech blogs and social media influencers will evangelize anything that will bring them clout, cargo cult programmers will build their runways, put fires along the sides, and everything else in hopes that good things will come.

It's almost a perfect combination of conditions for companies to market their snake oil.


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