The Price of Sharing: Unveiling the Generosity Divide in the Software Industry

Subtitle: A Tale of Generosity and the Pitfalls of Performance Metrics



In the fast-paced world of software development, knowledge sharing is often overlooked and undervalued. But for one developer, their dedication to helping others proved to be both rewarding and challenging. This article highlights the importance of sharing knowledge, the sacrifices it may entail, and the impact it has on the software industry as a whole.

The Story:

Twenty years ago, in a moderately large software company, a team of Mac-experienced developers found themselves struggling with the Windows version of their application. To address this issue, they hired a “Windows expert” to improve the Windows version and guide the team in Windows programming.

This expert, known for their generosity with time, would spend the first part of the day visiting other developers’ offices to pair program, troubleshoot, and discuss best practices. However, their selflessness did not go unnoticed. A colleague questioned how they could afford to be so generous with their time.

Months later, when the expert received a mediocre performance review, they were perplexed. The review criticized their productivity compared to the rest of the team. This feedback contradicted the purpose for which they were initially hired. The expert’s goal was to share knowledge and help the team become more proficient in Windows programming.

The Value of Sharing Knowledge:

The expert’s story resonates with many developers who believe that sharing knowledge is a cornerstone of their profession. The act of empowering others and building up fellow developers contributes to the growth and progress of the entire software industry. It is through the collaboration and exchange of ideas that the industry thrives.

Unfortunately, not all developers who choose this path are adequately recognized for their contributions. Despite the immeasurable impact they have on the skills and careers of others, they often go unrewarded directly. However, their significance cannot be understated as they shape the future of software development.

Overcoming Challenges and Finding Rewards:

The struggle faced by the expert in maintaining their own productivity while helping others is a common predicament. Balancing personal progression with empowering teammates can be daunting. It requires careful navigation and understanding of what the company values.

In some cases, developers may find themselves optimizing for performance metrics rather than dedicating time to knowledge sharing. Others may need to advocate for themselves, demonstrate their impact across the board, and align their work with the company’s goals and values.


The story of this generous developer sheds light on the significance of knowledge sharing within the software industry. From mentoring junior developers to providing guidance on technical matters, sharing knowledge is the key to collective growth and success.

While not always directly rewarded or acknowledged, the impact of those who choose to share knowledge cannot be underestimated. They shape the future of software development and contribute to the elevation of the industry as a whole.

As the industry continues to evolve, the value of knowledge sharing should be recognized and appreciated. It is through this selfless act that developers can ensure the craft of software development continues to advance, and new generations of developers are inspired to learn and innovate.

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