Is English speaking necessary for developers?
There’s been quite a few blog posts and tweets lately around the following (slightly distorted) quote:
“If you don’t know English, you’re not a programmer”
The original quote was a little different but almost as offensive so I won’t dignify it with a link. The best discussion on this quote can probably be found on Scott’s blog. It quickly morphed into a discussion on whether you needed to speak English to be a *great* developer. I still disagree with this simply because I know several excellent developers who speak little or no English. Of course I won’t disagree that it’s harder, and that knowing English certainly is a (big) plus.
But rather than rehashing various arguments I’d like to bring some perspective to this topic.
Please try to imagine for just a minute how different your world would be if Chinese developers were the overwhelmingly dominant community in the field. This is actually not that far fetched and might actually happen at some point in the future. After a while, wouldn’t a good part of the literature be available in Chinese only? So in this hypothesis, let me ask you…
Would you then be willing to learn Chinese? Would you then agree with the following?
(Thanks to Hong Li for the translation)