In honor of Take Your Web Master to Lunch Day this Thursday, we at Infomedia want to share a few tips to how to talk to programmers, developers and coders.
Web developers are known for being geeky, but the web developers I know — at least the ones at Infomedia — are a lot more normal than you’d think. They’re the first to lend a hand when you’re having a problem, and they’re pretty well-rounded: They’re well-read, up-to-date on politics and just generally good people. Most of them are just as comfortable in a campground as they are behind a computer. Our coders are active in everything from music (Brad) to illustration (Jimmy) to jiu jitsu (Russell and Jonathan) to wedding planning (Audra).
But as relatable as they can be, most web developers are still geeks at heart, and sometimes it seems like their minds work a little differently — they have to, since their job is to solve problems all day, and to solve them in several different languages. When you think about it, most of developers’ nerdy interests make a lot of sense: If your job was to write in a language that communicates with machines, wouldn’t you be interested in robots? If you were trained to seek new possibilities through a computer, wouldn’t video games seem like good training?
Those of us at Infomedia who aren’t programmers definitely love our developers — it’s Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day (or, at least, “Accompany Your Webmaster to Lunch Day”) at Infomedia pretty much any day of the week. But sometimes those of us who can’t read html or debug a website are left scratching our heads a bit, especially when the conversation veers into super-geek territory.
I took an informal office poll of the terms all our web developers understand but tend to leave the rest of us a little baffled, so today we’re sharing a little geek glossary — a quick guide to understanding what in the world your web developer is talking about. So if you do decide to take your web developer to lunch for Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day, you can navigate the conversation a little more easily.
Sounds Like: A biological reaction
Actually Is: A program that allows people to livestream their video games so other people can watch them play. I’m pretty sure you can create a Twitch stream for anything happening on your computer, but gaming is pretty common. Other people watch, comment — and sometimes even pay to watch your stream.
Sounds Like: A cell phone company
Actually Is: The (currently theoretical) moment when robotic intelligence improves to the point that it’s indistinguishable from human intelligence. Think this is right around the corner? Think it’ll never happen? Want to talk about it for two hours solid? Congrats, you’ll get along well with developers.
Padme Amidala, Mace Windu, Qui-Gon Jinn
Sounds Like: Programming languages
Actually Are: Star Wars characters (If you want to get to know your web developer, getting to know your Star Wars characters is a good first step.)
Sounds Like: Military Jargon
Actually Are: These are programming and styling languages — they’re what your developer uses to write code. And talk to those robots.
Sounds Like: Bragging about stuff you’ve read.
Actually Is: Bragging about stuff you’ve read … on the internet. Reddit is one part news aggregation and one part social sharing; it’s sort of a souped-up version of a chatroom. Reddits are organized according to categories (those are called subreddits), and information is passed really quickly that way. Reddit isn’t beautifully designed or heavy on graphics, but it’s usually informational and a little bit quirky, and that makes it perfect for programmers.
Sounds Like: A negative
Actually Is: A conference, usually celebrating geek culture. The biggest and most popular is Comic-Con, but in the South we also have Dragon Con (in Atlanta), Kami-Con (here in Birmingham) and more.
Sounds Like: Being lazy
Actually Is: A platform that allows you to communicate instantly with other people in your office. You don’t need to be a programmer to use Slack, but our programmers use it ALL THE TIME, and those of us who’d rather talk face-to-face miss out on a whole world of GIFs and inside jokes.
Sounds Like: Weaponry
Actually Is: RPG stands for “role playing game;” it’s a game where you have a character that you develop and play throughout the game. Examples you might have heard of include World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons.
So, there you have it — the extremely non-definitive guide to geek culture. In reality, there’s no way to know exactly what your web developer is going to be interested in because programmers are people, and their interests are varied just like everybody else’s. But maybe this cheat sheet can get you started. And in my experience, web developers are more than happy to explain their interests and obsessions even if you’re totally naïve about them … and they’re also pretty happy to join you for lunch, even if it’s not officially Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day.