Little about me and why I am talking about that?
I am a software engineer and I love my job. Not only that, after work, I like to sit and try to think about new ideas on how to make the world a better place.
Last year I changed my higher-paying job in a semi-corporate software house to a med-tech start-up that is focused on helping human beings. I had a lot of roles during the years, basically, I was doing what had to be done.
Recently I had a realization that there are major changes happening in the tech world right now so that's the main reason for this article.
Normally I try to avoid speculations, but I feel that my experience and knowledge sum up to a good, valid opinion.
What do I mean by tech in general?
The technical part — The software.
The first change in tech I lived through happened a few years back when the programming world was overtaken by the global phenomenon of microservices architecture.
For those who are less programming oriented. Software architecture, in the most simple definition, is the set of rules that a team of programmers agreed on to make a project easily maintainable and expandable.
“Since the down on time” developers were developing projects feature by feature and weren't thinking about particular architecture. That way of programming led to the creation of monster-like projects no one wanted to touch due to their size and complicity. Nowadays we refer to them as monoliths.
On the contrary, microservice architecture meant to separate the application into smaller, easily maintainable pieces, each corresponding to some kind of functionality.
To help you understand the concept I’ve prepared a graphic representation of a simple project written as a monolith and in the microservice architecture.
People realized it's easier to create a team of coders responsible f.e. for making the emojis work in the messenger app than a team (legion) responsible for the whole Facebook messenger. Therefore decentralization happened in the area
Job title of a programmer
The same decentralization can be seen in the work of a programmer. In the early days of “the internet” we had one job title: “Coder”/”Programmer” and we did everything. As the industry evolved the role was cut into smaller pieces. I remember a few years ago, as I was starting my journey as a dev, the most desired employee was the one whose skills covered more than one area — a full-stack dev.
A full-stack developer — is a person not focuses only on one area of software development. Usually, he can do a front-end (what the user sees and interacts with) and a back-end (the machine that stores and provides and data for the front-end) in one or many programming languages. Sometimes his skills can go further, covering other parts of software development.
Nowadays, more commonly, we can see programmers which job titles say either front-end or back-end. So again, the read to specialization can be seen oven here. I can’t for sure know why this is happening. My guess would be that each element is starting to be more complicated day by day and it’s hard to keep up-to-date with more than one specialization.
Is it the end of Facebook?
Recently Facebook is getting a lot of attention and it's definitely not a positive kind. People are questioning ways this giant handles user privacy, and much more. You can read all about everywhere, I mean, EVERYWHERE else.
This article is not about that.
A few days ago Elon Musk tweeted this:
Signal is a cross-platform centralized encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger — Wikipedia
By just doing that Signals had 17.8 million app downloads on Apple and Google during the week of Jan. 5 to Jan. 12 (nbcnews.com). But the dev like me didn't saw those numbers. I saw memes and articles popping up on the web, promoting Singal — a safe way to communicate.
Around the same time on Twitter, I noticed an army of people shouting to delete WhatsApp — owned by Facebook. Then there were people saying that everybody should DELETE EVERY Facebook app — Instagram, Facebook therefore giving alternatives for those Facebook-owned apps, Signal being one of them.
Then I remembered, again, back in the day we had everything in a separate location. Forums-to discuss. AIM, Yahoo, Gadu-Gadu (in Poland) — to talk, DailyBooth — for your daily photos. I am sure that there were many others. Responsibility was scattered across them because they were owned by separate companies. Is it possible that people will go back to “old” days? It seems so. I feel like people don't want to give everything to one player, more so, if the player is not trustworthy. Our civilization is waking up. We’re being more aware of the costs of free software as well as the fact that we have to make a better effort to take care of our planet. The second one should be more important — of course. It is true that everything has its “renaissance” — disco included.
Concept of keeping a secret — The grand plan.
Imagine you have a million-dollar idea for a social media platform. You hire a programmer to write it, then he spends a few months on its development. After some time you find out that he stole your idea and released it under his name earning a ton of money… Sounds familiar? It should. This is how Facebook was supposedly born. I should change the first sentence of this paragraph — it was a BILLION-dollar idea.
In order not to repeat the mistakes made with facebook imagine that instead of hiring a single programmer, you hire ten of them — each responsible for a small functionality of your platform and not knowing its whole context. Since they don’t know each other your idea is safe, and no one will steal your precious idea.
Sounds good? I think yes! We should think of our personal data like we’re thinking about the mentioned idea. We shouldn't give it to a single company. A giant like Facebook knows everything about us therefore it’s starting to become dangerous.
Finally… What about Facebook?
Everything I just wrote looks like everyone will stop using Facebook and all its other products, right? Quite frankly — no. Facebook has too many users and influence in the world. Not only that, but the company has more than one source of income, so if we “cancel” Facebook as a social media platform, it will pop-up as a tech giant in a different area.
What is the future?
I think decentralization of our personal data, smart-devices, jobs — is the answer. Not only tech industry goes in this — decentralized direction. Business world is starting to specialize in every area by creating domain skills, highly specialized products or services.
More and more people will follow this trend of giving a chance to different platforms simply because we need some diversity. During this pandemic, everything feels dull and boring. When it ends, and everyone will get out of their homes and do the things they dreamed about during lockdown, “good” old, not trustworthy Facebook might be a reminder of how bad it was.
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