What Coders Really Want

Here's what I've learned from my time "behind enemy lines."

I consider myself a Philo-Developer, as opposed to a coder. I am here to discuss some things I have learned while working with developers “behind enemy lines.”

As a marketer climbing corporate ladders and having done many cool things in online marketing in the past 10+ years, I have had the pleasure of working with some outstanding developers and product managers. At first, I had very little understanding as to why my communication and commercial approach was frowned upon by coders. It took me 9 months at a startup to build a fully-functioning and profitable affiliate marketing team with the technical team lead hand-in-hand, all in JIRA.

The first 2 months were hell. I was being slapped around as I have never been before. Then it dawned on me: I needed to listen. So I did. I listened and I learned the “way of the Coders,” and I started a journey that not only never stopped but got me working more efficiently and much more profitable than ever before. Software architects, coders, and Product Owners alike love a patient, savvy, intelligent marketer.

It’s a Fantastic Ride If You Know Some Basic Rules

Always listen. Learn as much as you can and never make ideas sound like to-do lists. Oh, and one more thing: never, ever say “Oh, there is one more thing.” Just know your stuff, or say that you do not know. As of today, I work at a European developer conference. We give to developers what they really want.

So What Do Developers Really Want?

The ones we meet, host, organize meetups with, and webinar with all have one thing in common: they all enjoy learning. A great proportion of them actually have a little side project, a business even. We see them learn something new all day every day.

In the past 10 years, we went a long way from a small developer community to a multinational hands-on developer conference with over 300,000 solid followers. If you ask me, we do not think of ourselves as a business any more than our developer friends think we are a commercial event.

Developers are talented, gifted and are always learning. We talk to many coders and product managers on meetups who tell success stories they have achieved together. Our kind of crowd gives us the feedback that they love to help create and be part of the commercial applications or coding. From what I gathered throughout the years, I think that most coders think of money [a.k.a. salary, bonus and the likes] is a secondary factor. The money part can be arranged by many other competitors of yours. The supply-demand situation in the developer sourcing and recruiting world is not a buyer’s market. In fact, we see that many senior HR professionals are having major issues delivering their quotas several quarters in a row.

Overall happiness for most people cannot be solely measured by the zeros on their paycheck ([some restrictions apply above 6 digits, but everything has a price, so careful what you wish for!). As we like to say:

“There is no such thing as an unemployed developer.”

What the above means is quite simple. The successful companies we interact and partner with see keeping their coders happy as a top priority. How do they do it? Mainly by encouraging and nurturing talent, learning, and individual projects. We see partners and sponsors come to ask to cooperate on dynamic meetups/webinars/hackathons for their teams 365 days a year. I am sure this is not only my personal opinion as we have built a thriving business on this.


Inspired by the research and the numbers read in https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/tech/tech-developers-really-want/