Did you know that rotating helix thingy outside barber shops is called a barber's pole?

It's something you see but you don't see it, right? It's enough to signal you're in the right place but that's as deep as it goes.

The technology world is full of barber poles. Jargon, concepts, technologies, methodologies...

In DevEd, it's important to recognize those signposts when you're developing content so you can unpack them and make sure you're not making assumptions while teaching folks who are new to the topic.

If you're teaching an enterprise .NET software developer persona  about making their first open source contribution on GitHub, there's so much to unpack for that persona. They may be using tools like TFS (shudder) or CVS (double-shudder). Git is already hard and relatively new to them, then add GitHub on top of that.

Like... what even is a "PR"? A... pull... request? Pulling what? Oh, like a "git pull"? In the UI? But what does it pull? Oh, so it's more like a merge request (GitLab got it right). Why was it ever called that? 🤷🏻‍♂️

The key is: you don't need to explain the whole history of the barber pole while you teach them how to get a haircut but you as the educator need to know enough about it so you can articulate it better for the learner (and give them relevant context when it makes sense).

If you're looking for a barber in South Korea and see a barber's pole, you might find a brothel instead so pay attention.

If your product makes something easier to understand in one developer niche for another developer niche, making the audience aware of that is lovely DevEd.


PS. Apparently, the barber's pole goes back to medieval times. Barbers used to do surgeries and dental extraction so the pole represents blood flow. The pole is thought to represent Hermes' staff (⚕️), the Caduceus.  

By the way, if you've never been to Europe than you may not realize the green cross is common there to signal pharmacies.

Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Developers and barber poles 💈

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Hi 👋 I'm Kamran. I'm a consulting developer educator who can help your DevRel team increase adoption with better docs, samples, and courseware.
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