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Eric Lamb on: Awards and Web Development

Awards are an odd thing in the web development world. A lot of developers don’t even know they exist and those that do, in my experience, are pretty split in how they view them. Some like them, some hate them, but all, in my experience, want them. None moreso in our little nook of the Internet than the AcadamEE Awards from devot:ee.

Disclosure: I (and my products) am nominated for 3 awards this year (Extension, FieldType, and Developer of the Year). While I’m not writing this to specifically shill for votes you shouldn’t let that stand in the way of voting for me.

Now, if you don’t know, 90% of the time awards within web development center around a specific client website. Projects that are collaborations between a team of people that goes above and beyond a single individual and their contributions. There are quite a few organizations that handle this sort of stuff, like the American Business Awards, IMA, Webby, and SIA, but there isn’t any sort of officiality to the process or anything. They all seem to do their own thing and abide by no standard or set criteria.

So, for the most part, online awards are really tough to measure in terms of value. Who, exactly, chose the nominees? What criteria comes into play when determining who wins an award? Why the hell did they pick what they did? Most awarding institutions are pretty vague on those questions so it makes it almost impossible to add any weight to the award. For all we know it could be a filthy dude in their bathrobe.

Most designers and programmers, in my experience, realize this though and seem to not really care about awards outside having the percieved professional accolades. For what it’s worth; I’ve never heard a developer mention they were up for an award; it’s always mentioned in past tense, if ever. It’s just not something that comes up casually in conversation.

But for the administrators (the producers, project managers, general managers, and, especially, agency owners), they seem to eat this stuff up. Maybe they know the answers to the above, or maybe they don’t care and just like there’s a third party they can use as an impartial source for credibility. No idea really but I know they do love them their awards.

But the AcademEE Awards seem different. We know that it’s Ryan Masuga and the devot:ee team, with data taken from devot:ee, who chooses the nominees. We know the actual winners are chosen by the ExpressionEngine community; people we know and who know us. There’s no secret consortium in a back room deciding this. It’s the community doing what it does best; speaking.

For a lot of us ExpressionEngine add-on devs this is a big deal. A bigger deal, I think, than most would likely admit to. It’s the time when our peers, those people in the community who actually use the products and know the developers, can stand up and let us devs know what they think. There’s some real value in that.

The majority of the nominations, across all categories, are for single devs (those unassociated with a dev shop). The individual people who work late into the night, long after their day job finished, often for something they’re just going to give away for free. Most of the time they do this because they have to. It’s the passion for the craft of programming and ExpressionEngine that motivates, but things like the AcademEE Awards certainly feed that motivation.

So if there’s been a dev who’s helped you out above and beyond or created an add-on that’s become crucial to your business now’s the time to stand up and show a little appreciation.

Posted on Dec 11, 2012 by Eric Lamb

Filed Under: Life as a Web Professional