Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

What would you like to learn from me?

It’s been an odd year. Between the layoffs – which were and continue to be a bad idea – and the rise of error-prone generative coding the landscape of software development has changed dramatically.

The web developer training industry seems to be in the process of collapsing. This shouldn’t be surprising considering it was built to fulfil what then looked like an unrelenting demand from tech companies for talent. Even those whose training, courses, and web dev education work weren’t directly a part of that pipeline have been hit hard because the market for training is now much smaller.

Like I wrote in my overview of the state of the web developer job market:

It’s reasonable to expect that the job market is unlikely to ever fully bounce back, due to the collapse of web media alone.

It’s also reasonable to expect that the job market might take another sharp turn to the worse because the AI Bubble will run its course eventually. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a genuine innovation or an overblown yarn-ball of dysfunction and wishful thinking, bubbles end eventually.

Both finding a job and hiring for web development will likely only get harder.

It’s been rough. For the industry and, in all honesty, for me as well.

Ever since I shifted to full-time freelancing over four years ago, the work I’ve done has generally fallen into one of the following categories:

  • Freelancing proper. (I get paid to do what you tell me to do.)
  • Consulting. (I get paid to tell you what you should do.)
  • Writing. (The ebooks. Freelance technical writing. Technical review. Writing training documents and material.)
  • Research. Such as the research I did as a part of the Colophon Cards project on a grant from The Icelandic Centre for Research’s Technology Development Fund.

The common thread has been software development (specifically the web) and systems-thinking. In particular, systems-thinking was the foundation for both Out of the Software Crisis and The Intelligence Illusion ebooks. It’s what drove most of my work: the research – studying notetaking and writing as organically evolved systemic practices with an eye for adopting them into software tools – my consulting, and my writing.

The Intelligence Illusion first began as research into applying Machine Learning to software development, but the deeper I went, the more horrified I became at how unsuitable – even outright destructive – generative models are for any systematic approach to work.

And, obviously, systems-thinking is core to how I approach software development and coding in the first place.

But the above is more about my perspective and my experiences. I can apply these approaches and ideas to a variety of problems in work and in life.

The software industry itself seems to be at a turning point as well. Much of what we took as given a couple of years ago are no longer certainties.

So, as I’m trying to figure out what to focus on next, I had the idea of asking you, the readers of this blog and newsletter:

What would you like to learn from me?

It’s deliberately an open-ended question. I’m not going to give you a list and “force a card” to get the choice I want.

You perspective is the one I don’t have, and I don’t know how my areas of expertise can be the most helpful to those you reading this.

You can send me an email with your thoughts at baldur.bjarnason@gmail.com, or just reply to this newsletter if you’re reading it there.

I’m also on mastodon at @baldur@toot.cafe .

And I’m on BlueSky at @baldurbjarnason.com.

So, let me know. What would you like to learn from me? How can I help?

You can also find me on Mastodon and Bluesky