At a talk a few weeks ago, I made a passing comment that I think remote work is a scam. This ruffled a few feathers and so I thought it was worth clarifying why it is.
The last few years represented a huge industry-wide experiment on the impact of remote work on everything. Now that the dust has settled a bit we can look at the good and the bad.
The good is articulated in extensive detail across the internet, so I won’t go into too much depth on it. The bad does not get equal attention. An area that is particularly overlooked is how juniors and newcomers (to their job, or to the industry) grow and develop, and all the studies I’ve seen say that remote work is a disaster for this.
Programming is best taught, 2 and best learned, like any other apprenticeship: the apprentice learns through the mentorship from, and close observation of, someone much more experienced than them in the craft. This has worked for a good chunk of human history, and it’s great model for learning to code. Nobody argues that, by the way - nobody’s saying that you can finish a university degree or coding bootcamp and have nothing left to learn. No, we all agree that some sort of further learning is required even after new programmers get their “credentials”.
Only in the rare case that all 3 line up can a trainee learn remotely from a mentor as quickly and effectively as they would in person. That’s the rare exception that proves the rule. It turns out that it’s really hard to learn to code alone, at home, in bed.