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Brilliant Blobs - A Developer Success Lab Comic

If you want to mitigate AI Skill Threat, create learning and belonging cultures instead of contest cultures!

Feb 01, 2024 • 2 Minute Read

  • Developer Experience
  • Professional Development
  • Learning & Development

In the world of software engineering, there's a quirky notion that the top-notch developers are born coding geniuses, leading to some not-so-fun contest cultures fueled by cutthroat competition. These cultures, especially troublesome during tech shake-ups like the AI boom, spark worries about AI skill threats and fairness gaps.

The antidote? Let's swap the contest drama for a more chill vibe of learning and belonging – not only does it boost developer morale, but it also jazzes up team productivity!

Brilliant Blobs: A Developer Success Lab science comic

In software engineering, we tend to believe that the best developers are just innately brilliant programmers. 
But these brilliance beliefs trap us into contest cultures, where we believe that we must be ruthlessly competitive to succeed.
Contest cultures are obnoxious AND destructive, especially during times of change. We see their impacts today as orgs integrate generative AI tools.
Contest cultures also create AI skill threat, where devs feel stressed & threatened by rapidly changing expectations & aren't sure how their work will be seen & valued
They also create equity gaps for minoritized developers who aren’t usually encouraged to be programmers.
Luckily, we can mitigate contest cultures by creating cultures of learning and belonging instead. This helps give devs agency over how THEY want to use AI!
As a bonus, building a culture of learning and belonging can boost teams’ productivity and effectiveness
So, if you want to mitigate AI Skill Threat, create learning and belonging cultures instead of contest cultures!

Let's ditch the idea that coding greatness is written in the stars, steer clear of the contest chaos, and embrace a culture where learning, belonging, and a touch of tech playfulness reign supreme. Because in this dynamic software world, it's not about who's the coding superhero, but how we all can groove together and make the digital dance floor a more inclusive and innovative place.

Carol Lee, PhD

Carol L.

Carol Lee leverages her expertise in mental health and thoughtful measurement to study how developers cope and thrive through stressful circumstances. Carol has over a decade of experience leading academic and industry research in clinical health, measurement, and human behavior. Carol serves as a research fellow at the Integrated Behavioral Health Research Institute and as a clinical science advisor for Bravely Mental Health. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UMass Boston.

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