Are Developers The New Rock Stars?

"Developers are the new rock stars. Everybody used to want to join a band. Now they want to create an app."

Picture by [email protected]

That comment came from Microsoft technical evangelist Rocky Heckman at the Australian press launch for Visual Studio 2012 this morning. While it was a slightly tongue-in-cheek remark, it makes sense; I'd certainly suggest you have more chance of getting steady employment writing apps than recording music, even if the odds aren't massively high of getting super- rich in either case. What do you think? Share your developer dreams (or rock star regrets) in the comments.

Visit Lifehacker's TechEd 2012 Newsroom for all the news from the show.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman is attending TechEd 2012 as a guest of Microsoft.


    smash hit million $$ game developers are the new rockstars, everyone wants to be the next notch or rovio no one grows up dreaming of being the lead on visual studio :P

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    @ MSFT, you're encouraged to switch around a bit, like at many big companies, so that you don't get stale. And actually, being the lead on Visual Studio would be a quite interesting job. I've worked with that team, and there are some pretty qualified people on it. The stupid peon job I had at @ MSFT, you probably wouldn't walk across the street to read the detailed job description for. But it was the most exciting experience of my work life because of what we worked on (no, it was not primarily Visual Studio) and the amount of resources we were given to do so. Imagine: "Here's an open checkbook. Solve this huge problem for us." Months of satisfying my curiosity about what makes Windows run by looking at the source and chatting with developers (some of whom had been there for 20+ years), speaking overseas, zillions of 95 hour weeks to make an externally imposed deadline that had old hands saying they hadn't seen anything that intense since Windows 3.1, VP's stopping meetings to ask "What'd I miss?" when saying something to which I reacted with a skeptical raised eyebrow to a colleague, etc.

    You'd be surprised how fun it CAN be, if you're in the right place at the right time in the evil empire. The camaraderie is like being in a startup, the ability to make decisions based on what's best rather than money is like having Warrent Buffett as a silent investor. But you would not be surprised at how soul-destroying it can be if you're in the wrong place (read: wrong manager) there. Same job, under 4 or 5 managers, the best time of my life, under one particular manager, my worst job ever. Microsoft has a lot of Bench-warming (fellow MSFT and ex-MSFT will get the pun) worthless me-me-me managers, unlike just about every startup in existence that wouldn't tolerate that waste of paycheck money, and if your day to day life involves interacting with one, or god forbid actually having to suck up to one to get a decent review score every year, it becomes not fun very quickly.

    Side note: good to see a Technical Evangelist over the age of 30.

      Your reply assumes I have not worked @ MSFT. Your assumption is wrong. Microsoft is no longer what it was, and not in a good way. Rocky is a smart guy, but it appears he may have had to make a move to avoid coming up on a bean counter's radar.....

    I would say unequivocally, emphatically... No.
    A lot of respect is given to programmers these days, but when's the last time you saw a hottie throw her panties at a programmer?

      @LyndonL: Happened to me yesterday actually, I still have trouble walking :D

    Headline ends in a question mark... so "No" (actually, I believe it. A developer - which I am - is never and will never be as cool as a rock star)

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