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Raised by Books

28 February, 2023

Posted in misc

Remember when your monitor looked like this?

A computer monitor placed on top of old software development books to raise it higher

Over the weekend I was having a chat with a fellow developer about keeping up with the ever changing landscape of software development and how we learn new skills. We joked about how we’ve owned chunky textbooks in the past which eventually got relegated to help raise our monitors up.

10 years ago it was a pretty common sight to see all the devs in the office raising their monitors with previous editions of “Professional ASP.NET” or “C# 2010” or even “JQuery Novice To Ninja” (which I cleared off my bookshelf this week). I loved the subtle art of finding the right combination of books to get the monitor the perfect height just for you.

But these days, I feel that programming books are a dying breed. If I’m stuck on a problem I head to Stack Overflow. If I need to learn something new, I find a tutorial on YouTube.

In recent months I’ve even been asking ChatGPT to write code for me.

A screenshot of ChatGPT

So what about the next generation of developers? Will the books of today even be relevant in a year’s time? Is there value in looking back at older editions to see how things once were?

I think they’re a dying breed, but at least we can rest easy knowing that these old chunky books served their purpose — even if it was only to improve our posture by raising up our screens.