Why experienced developers are worth the money

Pascal Habermann

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted” ― Randy Pausch

Development experienced is earned the hard way by trying, failing and trying again until you get it right.

Developing isn’t easy and anyone who says it is will soon be humbled by the process. Senior developers are expensive but inexperienced developers will cost you more with late projects.Not all experience is equal and when you get to lead developer you need standards and leadership (values which are also learnt)

Experience is what you get when development didn’t work as planned or when something goes wrong. Experience is gained by working outside your comfort zone, on areas you haven’t done before. The cost of developing is making mistakes and a slower development speed because of the trial-and-error nature of learning.

In development theory is good but practical experience gets work done. It’s not until you create code in a new language or framework that you know you can do it.

Why is development hard?

The same approach doesn’t always work every time because the requirements are unique, the people involved are unique and the solution is unique. A creative process, involving people, communication and creating functionality that needs to work individually and as a complete solution. There are unknowns that cause errors. Errors and mistakes are a part of the process, going wrong and fixing it. Feedback is the fastest way forward for the solution and the developer growing their skills. 

Experienced developers limit the risk of things going wrong badly. They avoid more problems and fix the problems they find quicker.

The cost of learning

New Languages and frameworks are the same and yet different. The key concepts are the same, but each has its own syntax and processes. It takes time to learn how it works and the processes around deploying, creating and debugging etc.

The cost of learning is mistakes, getting it wrong will help you understand how to get it right. This is the on boarding cost developers need to pay to gain experience. Experience allows you to avoid future mistakes. In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, no difference between knowledge and creating code and customization.

In practice there is a big knowing what to do and doing it are very different and doing it will throw many unexpected challenges. Therefore practical experience is more valuable than theoretical knowledge.

An example is IT professionals with certifications, it shows they have the knowledge but doesn’t give any sign they can use that knowledge effectively.

This article talks about why C# developers struggle to learn Dynamics 365 Why .NET-C# developers struggle with Dynamics 365 Development

Why is experience valuable

Project plans are based on developers working at a steady speed. If the team makes decent progress, then we deliver the functionality roughly on time.

When bigger problems arise and progress slows significantly, then projects soon fall behind. This is when leaders and customer get alarmed.

Experienced developers don’t get blocked and through experienced have learnt to tackle problems logically and find the cause. Experienced developers, slow down and ask the right questions to resolve the problem.

Experienced developer reduce the big mistakes, resolve the smaller mistakes and deliver at a consistent rate. This allows projects to be delivered on time.


There is no shortcut to mastery, you earn it by doing, and it’s the fastest way to learn.

Experience is valuable because until you have done something, you don’t know how difficult it is and you don’t know all the mistakes you are going to make. Experience reduces the potential for making mistakes.

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original blog post – Why experienced developers are worth the money


The greatest danger to developers


“the greatest danger you face is your mind growing soft and your eye getting dull.” ― 50 Cent, The 50th Law

The greatest danger to developers is to stop being curious, stop learning and stop keeping up with new technology. The day you stop learning is the day you start your journey towards retirement.

Slow death

How do you slowly make development harder? falling behind the latest changes one day at a time. The environment evolves and your skills need to change with it.

I worked with a Java developer who stopped taking an interesting in new versions of Java, new frameworks, new best practices and just came to work, wrote the code needed and went home. He slowly found development harder and needed more help understanding frameworks and projects. Eventually they couldn’t find a project for him to work on and he become increasingly scared of new projects.

Developers are craftsman, you are never the master and always the student. There will constantly be new languages, new ways of doing things, new services, new tools, new best practices, and you have to be interested enough to keep investing time to learn.

Like the frog slowly being boiled, the developers who stop learning are slowly being boiled

“Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.” — Lauren Bacall

Dynamics on premise versus Dynamics 365 online

When Dynamics 365 online came out it was inferior to the on-premise version and you couldn’t do the same level of complexity. Many developers chose to not invest the time in learning Dynamics 365 online. Slowly Online functionality caught up and then with Azure, no code solutions (Power Platform) and Microsoft pushing it hard, it become the number one choice of customers..

When online caught up it was very appealing to customers to choose online because Dynamics 365 is a service and it means that people could get rid of their servers and the technical experts who look after those servers. Microsoft would guarantee to keep the service up all the time, Microsoft would stop virus and deal with security.

Companies who didn’t change with environment found themselves behind, they hadn’t trained people to have skills for online projects; they had no experience in online projects.

Those companies who didn’t keep learning were left behind. Like starting a race and giving everyone else in the race a head start.

No code revolution

Microsoft is moving into business applications and has created a powerful no code/low code functionality with Power Automate.

In the early stage some people ignored it, used old workflows or continued writing C# code and JavaScript code.

The next step Microsoft added connectors and kept improving Power Automate and then it was a powerful tool that could almost match the functionality of C#. The cost to create and maintain customisations was lower and could be developed by Power users /citizen developers.

If you weren’t interested or didn’t learning then you started the race behind all those who jumped on it at the start. If you don’t go down this route then you are swimming against the Microsoft tide.

Survival of the fittest

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin

What I’m talking about is adapting to the changes in environment, if you don’t adapt then you become less effective in the new environment. The longer you resist changing the less effective you become in the changed environment.

Your skills were great in the previous environment but the development environment has upped the version, moved online and is changing to low code solutions. If you aren’t keeping up then you are slowly becoming less useful.

Stay curious

Take opportunities to be more curious and open, explore the truth. Imagine you don’t know anything. Expand your knowledge and experience and embrace new functionality as a new opportunity. Expose yourself to different ideas, go outside of your comfort zone.

When you stop learning, you start to become less adapted to the environment and will slowly become less useful.

The rate of change is speeding up and evolving your skills as technology advances will happen more frequently and be more important. Read the article below to see why

Google Director Of Engineering: This is how fast the world will change in ten years

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article originally published The greatest danger to developers