The developer 'mindset,' explained in one wacky acronym - Baltimore


Jul. 29, 2014 11:09 am

The developer ‘mindset,’ explained in one wacky acronym

According to Pantheon Systems developer advocate Cal Evans, programming is a mindset, not just a skill set. And all you need is D.U.C.C.H.T.

Pantheon Systems developer advocate Cal Evans speaking at Refresh Baltimore.

(Photo by Keisha Reed)

In order to become a professional programmer, you only need D.U.C.C.H.T.

At this month’s Refresh Baltimore, developer advocate Cal Evans spoke about making people’s lives better by evolving the developer role.

Evans broke down his thoughts on becoming a professional programmer, including a method he called “D.U.C.C.H.T.” — pronounced, quipped Evans, in the Klingon dialect for professional programmers.

The acronym guided his talk:

  • D – Duct tape master: Knowing how to best handle a situation.
  • U – Understanding: Understanding how to find the answers when you don’t know them.
  • C – Curiosity: Learning as you grow to prevent becoming stagnant.
  • C – Communicate: Learning how to talk to clients.
  • H – Honesty: Being honest about your skills, skill levels and devotion.
  • T – Team Player: Being a team player, getting on board and knowing when to leave.

“Being a professional developer is a mindset, more than just skills,” said Evans at the Wednesday evening event, which was held at Betamore. “It’s always fun to look back at your younger self and see how stupid you really were. Just remember, your future self will utter those same words.”

Evans, who is based in Nashville, Tenn., shared various experiences encountered over the years — from being forced to use PageMaker to communicating in a way that makes clients comfortable.

The talk was sponsored by Evans’s current employer, Pantheon Systems, a San Francisco-based company that builds a development platform for Drupal-based websites. Evans got his start in development in 1983 on a Commodore 64 with a 1541 disk drive and has worked in various industries since.


Keisha Reed is a digital media strategist, Baltimore technology community member and contributor to Baltimore. She is the founder of K. Reed Digital, a web agency specializing in website strategy and digital media management. Raised in Washington, D.C., her commitment to raising the awareness of the digital divide and placing more girls in STEM is a lifelong passion. When she's not settled in with a good book, she enjoys the company of family and friends around the dinner table.

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