Easily replicated

I’m working on updating The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms. All customers of the existing version of the book will get an updated copy for free. I wanted to share an excerpt from the 52-thousand-word-and-growing manuscript:Your skills are easily replicated by competitors. The prevalence of open source in the modern custom software development industry and the eagerness of many advanced technologist to share what they know makes it relatively easy to acquire new skill, and the longer a skill has been in existence the more freely available documentation there will be for that skill. The longer a tech platform has been around, the more libraries, frameworks, and best practices will exist to support it and remove the need for advanced skill.While formal education certainly exists within the world of software development, its importance and usefulness tends to be outweighed by self-education. Self-educated developers are rarely penalized for a lack of formal education, and there are certainly no formal barriers to entry like the kind of licensing and professional standards bodies that attorneys, accountant, and medical practitioners face. This means that almost anybody can become a professional software developer. This is both good and bad for you, but mostly bad if your only way of claiming you’re better than others is to focus on your skillset.Becoming a competent software developer requires little money or specialized equipment. It certainly helps a lot to have real world experience, but when it comes to gaining experience, compare yourself to an attorney or surgeon. If you have the time, you can build all kinds of software that closely approximates commercial software or things clients would hire you to build. Via cloud computing and open source you have access to many of the exact same tools that Amazon or Netflix run multi-billion dollar businesses on. Now think about someone wanting to become a litigator or surgeon. How can they practice those skills in a situation approximating real life?-P