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Is there such a thing as good gatekeeping?

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the concept of "good gatekeeping" in the context of the Cloud Resume Challenge, a project created by the author to help people learn cloud engineering skills. The author reflects on the low completion rate of the challenge (less than 1%) and explores the potential reasons behind it, including the possibility of creating unnecessary barriers for beginners. The article also touches on the recent drama in the open-source software community and the author's thoughts on the outcome.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Cloud Resume Challenge

1. What is the Cloud Resume Challenge, and what are the author's observations about its completion rate?

  • The Cloud Resume Challenge is a project created by the author to help people learn cloud engineering skills.
  • The author has observed that less than 1% of people who start the challenge actually finish it, with only about 1-2% of participants eventually submitting a semi-finished project.
  • The author tried various methods to improve the completion rate, such as writing guidebooks, starting a Discord server, and running monthly sprints with additional support, but the completion rate only increased to around 2.4%.

2. What are the author's thoughts on making the challenge easier to complete?

  • The author acknowledges that if they created a video course that provided step-by-step instructions, the completion rate could increase significantly, potentially even past 50%.
  • However, the author is concerned that this would undermine the value of the challenge as a means of identifying talented cloud engineers, as it would "overwhelm the signal with noise."

3. What is the author's dilemma regarding the challenge's difficulty and accessibility?

  • The author wonders if the challenge's difficulty and low completion rate constitute "good gatekeeping" or if they are creating unnecessary barriers for beginners.
  • The author is torn between making the challenge more accessible and maintaining its value as a way to identify skilled cloud engineers.

[02] Thoughts on "Good Gatekeeping"

1. What are the author's views on the concept of "good gatekeeping"?

  • The author is interested in the idea of "good gatekeeping" and whether it is possible to have a challenging project that still provides adequate support and enablement for beginners.
  • The author acknowledges that the world is full of "bootcamps and video courses and certifications that promise to hold your hand and spoon-feed you information," but they are concerned that this approach may not be effective in the long run.

2. How does the author's perspective on the job market for junior software engineers factor into their views on gatekeeping?

  • The author notes that the current job market for junior software engineers is very competitive, with hiring managers "fighting for every scrap of headcount they have."
  • The author is hesitant to "pretend that a hard thing (getting good enough at cloud that you build some relationships and create professional opportunities for yourself) is an easy thing (watch these videos, copy-and-paste your way through these tutorials)," as they believe this would not serve the best interests of the learners.

[03] Open-Source Software (OSS) Drama

1. What was the recent drama in the open-source software community that the author discussed?

  • There was a dispute between the open-source fork of Terraform called OpenTofu and Hashicorp, the company behind Terraform.
  • Hashicorp accused OpenTofu of stealing Terraform's source code for a new feature and sent a cease-and-desist letter.
  • The author was pleased to see that OpenTofu was able to demonstrate the legal origins of their code and that the InfoWorld article making the initial accusations was disclaimed.

2. How does the author view the community's response to the Redis, Ltd. relicensing controversy?

  • The author is encouraged by the "outraged response" from the open-source community to Redis, Ltd.'s decision to relicense Redis under a source-available model.
  • The author believes that as long as the community maintains the "vindictive energy" to support alternatives like Valkey, the open-source software ecosystem will remain strong.
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