There is a rough road ahead for all of us, both during and after this crisis. As a developer, your skills and knowledge could make a world of difference, however.
It started with a few smaller developer conferences being closed out of an abundance of caution. Then SXSW and F8 and I/O got canceled. Now the world has closed its doors (temporarily, at least) on all events for the health and safety of all. The United States has declared a national state of emergency and recently passed the first (of presumably numerous) government stimulus packages in an effort to keep the markets from imploding. President Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi put their many differences aside to show the American people that in a time of crisis, they will do what is necessary. The government is still working, even with remote and skeletal staff. Capitol Hill staff are still taking meetings and willing to hear us out on all issues. The battles deciding which specific sectors will receive bailouts have started and will be fought over Skype, Hangouts, Facetime, and Zoom. Nearly all businesses have mandated remote work for their employees (if possible). Many countries around the world and US states have declared mandatory quarantines and/or closed their borders.
Today, you’re likely one of the millions in the world to get comfortable at your couch or kitchen table, login to your VPN, and get to work remotely — all while wearing your pajamas. For some this dire situation may seem like a much-needed staycation, or most of what you do can be accomplished remotely. Kids home from school, growing cabin fever, or the dog who demands an abundance of weekday belly-rubs from his new officemate will all present productivity challenges for employees. Of course, this is on top of the absence of some employees due to illness, or business obstacles due to a lack of resources. Most independent developers and small software companies may not be as highly impacted by a lack of physical resources as other businesses, such as a local restaurant, for example. Other problems, problems that may prove to become even more detrimental in the long term, have millions around the world concerned — developers included.
What happens when the serious threat of the coronavirus clears and we are released from our social-distancing and allowed to have meetings of 50+ again? Few are sick, most are (hopefully) on the road to recovery, yet many have had their financial futures severely, perhaps even irreversibly, impacted.
Many developers are independent contractors or small business owners, and as such will have been hit hard. Many of their customers will be scaling back their budgets due to their own financial hardships. Discretionary spending on fun things such as apps and new technology — and the people to build them — is going to be reduced. Developers may see less capital flowing in. For these developers and for many others, what does a real economic recovery look like? What challenges will that economic recovery bring?
We at Developers Alliance want you to know we will continue to fight for you and your profession. The road ahead will not be easy, however. We believe in the abilities of developers and in the resiliency of this industry. Developers are largely small businesses and independent contractors and are the backbone of the 21st-century economy. We will continue to be on the lookout for measures that promote and secure developer employment, and provisions in any future economic stimulus packages or bills that may help the developer-run industry recover from this trying time and thrive long term.
As a developer, you are among the most technologically literate section of the population. We ask you to use that knowledge to help combat the fake news and disinformation regarding COVID-19. Help keep the world safe. Fake or misleading information about this virus hurts everyone. We ask that you improve the technology that roots out false or misleading information, report articles friends post that are promoting it, and encourage others to do the same. Now, when many feel that technology industries have caused more harm than good, is the time to show what software and compassion can build. Get creative with your skills, build things that lift others up and provide resources, do good in the world, and wash your hands regularly.
We encourage you all to please follow the Center for Disease Control Guidelines to best help the containment of the virus and to keep you and your family safe. If you are an employer and are concerned about how to plan, prepare, and respond to events, please follow guidelines on how best to keep your employees and customers safe. We will continue to keep you up to date on any COVID-19 related news as it pertains to developers.
We will additionally post updates with resources where your unique skills can be of use as we find them. If you have any questions or concerns, would like us to cover any particular updates, or have examples of non-profits or organizations mobilizing the developer workforce, please reach out to our team here.