Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Like? Subscribe.

What developers sound like to non-developers

March 14, 2019

No matter your profession, industry jargon can quickly become laden with acronyms, buzz-words, and other gibberish.

I was reminded of this today when I read the abstract from this scientific paper re: mammoth cells showing some signs of activity in mouse cells.

The 28,000-year-old remains of a woolly mammoth, named ‘Yuka’, were found in Siberian permafrost. Here we recovered the less-damaged nucleus-like structures from the remains and visualised their dynamics in living mouse oocytes after nuclear transfer. Proteomic analyses demonstrated the presence of nuclear components in the remains. Nucleus-like structures found in the tissue homogenate were histone- and lamin-positive by immunostaining. In the reconstructed oocytes, the mammoth nuclei showed the spindle assembly, histone incorporation and partial nuclear formation; however, the full activation of nuclei for cleavage was not confirmed. DNA damage levels, which varied among the nuclei, were comparable to those of frozen-thawed mouse sperm and were reduced in some reconstructed oocytes. Our work provides a platform to evaluate the biological activities of nuclei in extinct animal species.

Do you have any idea what that means? Perhaps if you’re a biologist it makes complete sense.

If you listen to two developers talking about building apps you’ll quickly realize how insane it sounds from an outsider’s perspective. Even the real-world sounding names of software languages and frameworks can be baffling; React, SASS, Bourbon, Grunt, Python, Swift, SQL, Ruby, Perl.

We must sound like totally nutters.


simonwoods says:

@cdevroe I was talking to my wife about something programming-related I am about to start working on and chose to not use the specific piece of language. This kind of thing is as good as speaking another language when it comes to people outside of the in-group.

bradenslen says:

@cdevroe And this causes no end of frustration to non-developers when trying to get help with a problem.

smokey says:

@bradenslen @cdevroe One of the things I like the best about @brentsimmons’s writing is how clearly and plainly he is able to explain various topics in software development to non-developers. It really is a skill not only to be able to switch off that developer side of the brain but also to come up with language that communicates the message in a way that everyone can understand.

cdevroe says:

@smokey Who doesn’t like @brentsimmons? No one. The answer is no one.

nitinkhanna says:

@cdevroe the best of those are “immunostaining” and “lamin-positive”. Like, what the *********?

nitinkhanna says:

@simonwoods the moment I speak networking with my friends, their eyes glaze over so fast.

@cdevroe I don’t mind this sort of jargon when developers/scientiest/engineers are communicate with their peers. But it’s distressing when this sort of language is used to communicate to a general audience.

simonwoods says:

@nitinkhanna hah! I can imagine. I’m convinced that blogging exists to spare those people in our lives for whom this is all too much to hear.

nitinkhanna says:

@simonwoods I couldn’t agree more! 😄

Leave a Reply