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March 12, 2007

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Your post is getting a lot of traffic because it's actually good :-)

At first I thought your previous post seems a bit extreme and biased but this post actually justified your claims.

Regarding (1), allow me to offer a counter example. I was a Java developer hired for a C# position with no prior experience of .NET, and adapting to the new standard libraries was a relatively trivial affair compared to learning the architecture and APIs of my new company's core product. Further, I began work from the first day, and whilst the first week involved a lot of looking at the standard library, it didn't take particularly long (perhaps a week or so) to get familiar enough with the .NET libraries to do my job without having to refer to MSDN, except in the more obscure circumstances.

Clearly part of programming is being familiar with the standard libraries of a language, but I think you overestimate its importance. In my experience, rarely does a project of any significant size rely on only the standard libraries, so you'll always have the problem of learning new systems and APIs.

However, having a wide experience with a great number of libraries can often be beneficial in helping you learn new ones. One can often see many similarities between systems; for instance, one regex library is rarely that different from another, and string classes tend to have all the same bits of functionality. The .NET and Java libraries are extremely close to each other, and even more diverse tools (such as the various web development frameworks out there) have clear common themes.

Regarding (4), I agree with you in generally. Whatever Microsoft's faults, they do make some good software; their .NET platform isn't bad by half, and C# has a number of advantages over Java. That said, Microsoft are far from perfect, and in some areas they have a lot of catching up to do. For instance, compare Visual SourceSafe to something like GIT.

Whilst Microsoft have a lot of money, and does employ a lot of bright developers, Microsoft doesn't always use its pool of talent effectively. Also, it's worth remembering there are a lot of bright developers elsewhere, too, and unrestrained by the same commercial pressures as Microsoft has to deal with.

I think you never loved computer programing to start with.

Also is it fair to say that the issue isnt so much that you might fall out of love between your 20's and 30's as it it that IT has changed a lot in those 10 years, probably much more than you as a person.

I remember attending a presentation where they said "the age of the hero is over- we need repeatable processes". All the intelligence is now expected to reside in the development process and not in any employee. Therefor it doesnt matter so much who the employee is, therefor they can be offshored.

And BTW, they dont need so much innovation from you.

I have trouble believing it would take a good programmer six months to learn a new language well enough to use it. I think the love (or at least like) question is crucial. My instincts tell me that you went into programming because you had aptitude and it seemed like a good career rather than because you really liked it.

I also think a key point you haven't addressed is the different kinds of employers. There are many jobs in computer science that don't fall into your rockstar/grunt dichotomy.

Off topic cross-post from gnxp, (on how to live well with a 100 IQ) but probably useful for David Alexander even though he's significantly smarter than that.
For IQ 100 whites, it's not a job, but join the LDS church, the Mormons, and let them find you one, and probably pay for your college.
For IQ 100 blacks and Hispanics, take advantage of affirmative action to get through college with a degree in nursing. If possible also get an education credential. Get as much financial aid in college as possible, preferably coming out with no debt and some net assets. If it will cover an extra year or two of college, have fun. After college try nursing and teaching, do whichever you prefer. If you get bored with or don't like one, give it at least 2 and no more than 5 years, then try the other. If neither works out, join a police force or do other government work. All this time, save at least $5000/year, preferably $10,000/year and invest it in half domestic and half foreign index funds and don't (not having kinds will help here). Once you have at least $100K of net assets have worked for 10 years (locking in about $500/month of social security benefits, plus giving you time to save $100K if you are spend cautiously and don't have kids) you don't need to save any more (though it wouldn't hurt) and can now afford to retire and live on your investment returns in Jamaica, or even more nicely in Cuba or the Dominican Republic if you speak Spanish. Try to have any kids you want prior to leaving in order to lock in citizenship for them. Try multiple countries before settling down. While abroad you can try your hand in business if you feel inclined with little personal risk.

Having a love of programming may well make the job more enjoyable/tolerable, but it doesn't really address HS's points. If you love landscaping, that still doesn't mean it's a good career, or high status, or that you won't have your love of doing it taken advantage of by others.

Sounds like the rant of a frustrated twentysomething to me.

Programming doesn't suck, it's a means to an end. All of the IT professions rely on temporary knowledge but there is permanent knowledge too.

As a 37 year old IT professional I can confirm that I'm still using programming structures learnt when I was 10 on a ZX Spectrum. I've been through various languages too but basic algorithm design and data structures are fairly consistent. A Network engineer has to re-learn his tools, as does a Server engineer and as does anybody that implements or supports technology. Given the choice of a 27 year old or a 60 year old, I'd perhaps take the 60 year old if the 27 year old is so disinterested in his job. Programming to me, is problem solving and mentally challenging but admittedly I'm usually working on my own so I understand the whole problem rather than coding one module in isolation.

As for Indians lowering the prestige of programming. I think you're demonstrating a very introverted opinion here. Indians train in technology related fields because they have prestige and because they see them as noble professions, just like lawyers and doctors. Indians have a strong cultural identity where honour and prestige runs through their daily lives. The only reason American companies outsource is because it's cheaper and that's what capitalist companies in a capitalist regime do.

I also think you'll find that all of the planet's inhabitants think in similar ways and that it's our language that separates us. Did you ever try speaking to an Indian programmer in Hindi or Panjabi? I'm sure their "barely intelligible English" is far better than your Hindi or Panjabi.

I'm also not sure why you think you, as an American, feels you're better qualified to teach an Indian how to speak English. Americans, in general, speak and write a very simplified form of English. Americans have chosen to simplify spellings of complex words such as colour, honour, aluminium, centre, encyclopaedia, grey but also simplified sentence structure and almost entirely forgotten what adjectives are.

If you hate programming and IT so much then please move on. Maybe you could have a high paying job and one where you don't have to learn so many new things every year. However, I think you'll find that money alone will not give you happiness although you may feel happier not having to think so much. Maybe you could teach English to all those brown people in India.

you forgot the part about how your article is full of anecdotal evidence and logical fallacy.

Wow, and you didn't even need to write about sex.

Or pretend to be a pretty girl.

A few things I've learned from reading all the comments on these threads:

1. Programming seems like a love-it-or-hate-it field. Many of the comments express very strong pro or anti opinions. What you don't see a lot of are people who find it an okay way to make a living, nothing special, that sort of middle-ground attitude. I don't know of many other fields with such extreme views on both ends of the spectrum. Unless - which may indeed be the case - only those people with the more extreme views, in both directions, are sufficiently motivated to comment.

2. Little if any consensus exists on the effects of outsourcing and H-1B visas. These trends are either (a) gravely damaging the industry or (b) having little effect. Which is correct?

3. If I were an ambitious high school student about to start college, or an older career-changer, I would have no idea whatsoever whether I should study CS. Some people say yes, some people say no, I have no idea who's right.

Just wait until the Asperger-inflicted Slashdot crowd sees this!

By the way, as a 30-something in Network IT, I can relate. If I wasn't a libertarian I'd find myself a cushy government gig where unions give inflated job security and my salary is obtained from the end of a gun (figuratively speaking, of course - unless you refuse to pay your taxes). Having to compete in an open(ish) market with millions of other qualified people (the world is shrinking, which means the number of people with your IQ and skills and motivation is increasing) sucks.

Like any other field, you can have a glamorous job working for Google, Microsoft, etc IF you come out of a top school or program like MIT, Stanford, or top Big 10 school. but your sense of career prestige will be more tied to your association to your corporation's brand name rather than what you do for a paycheck everyday.

Coding is grunt work and not something you should aspire to be doing the rest of your life. Later in life in all industries, it's more important to a belong to a small and senior cartel of friendships and connections while younger people make money for you.

>>A Network engineer has to re-learn his tools, as does a Server engineer and as does anybody that implements or supports technology.

This is completely off subject, and completely gratuitous, but...

There's no such thing as:

1) Network "Engineers"
2) Server "Engineers"
3) Refuse Disposal "Engineers"

These are all abuses of the term "Engineer". People who call themselves this are not engaging in engineering. They're no different than a train driver calling himself an engineer.

As long as I'm being gratuitous...

Ira Glass scares the hell out of me. Creeps me out. Anybody else have a problem with dorky gay jews?

Good coders will always be good coders. Period. Sure there will be some time spent to learn a new language, methodology and libraries, but a good coder will always outperform mediocre or bad one in any medium to large project (and after the initial project the good coder will outperform the others in any size project).

In my company we found that it took only from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to get people productive with Python even when they'd never used it before. And good coders turned out to be good coders again with Python.

Experience also helps. I don't claim to be a good coder (I see so many who are much better than me), but I have certainly found that picking up a new language is much easier now than early in my career. I just know that most languages will have feature X (or usable equivalent), be called Y or Z, and although I don't know/can't remember the syntax, I can find it quickly enough. And if I need to do feature FOO, the likelyhood of having done something similar before gets higher the longer I am in the field.

Let me ask you this: what would you have rather done after going to law school, not getting into BIGLAW etc rather than programming? You're always complaining about how there are no barriers to entry in programming, but it seems to me that same lack of barriers allowed you to get in easily in the first place. Is there any alternative field you could have chosen that would have been as easy to enter and have made you as much money as programming?

"Coding is grunt work and not something you should aspire to be doing the rest of your life."

Ah, the truth finally comes out.

"You're always complaining about how there are no barriers to entry in programming, but it seems to me that same lack of barriers allowed you to get in easily in the first place."

Barriers to entry are necessary to keep out too many competitors. The reason programmer salaries top out in the low 100K range is because there is no reason to pay a programmer more. They are too easy to replace. In fact, that is also why it is so easy to outsource/insource computer progamming, and that leads to a lack of job security to the field.

"Is there any alternative field you could have chosen that would have been as easy to enter and have made you as much money as programming?"

Like he said, public accounting at a Big Four firm is a better option. It is not as easy to enter as computer programming, but the pay increases with seniority and after about 6 to 7 years, CPAs at Big Four firms will earn more that most programmers. In fact, I would go further and say that even accountants at mid-sized firms will make more than computer programmers in about 10 years of work. Also, the job security is good in this field because of THE BARRIER TO ENTRY: the CPA license.

"Is there any alternative field you could have chosen that would have been as easy to enter and have made you as much money as programming?"

Let me explain more about barriers to entry.

Why are salaries in law, investment banking, public accounting, medicine, etc. high? BECAUSE OF BARRIERS TO ENTRY!!!!!!!

The very thing that most programmers rave about, the low barriers to entry, contribute to the capping off of salaries and the lack of job security (relative to other professional fields) in computer programming.


I've been programming for thirty five years, I've never had a problem finding work. Good programmers can transfer almost all of their knowledge from one language/toolkit to another. I learned COBOL and FORTRAN and assembly languages for machines that don't exist anymore and I wouldn't call any of that knowledge wasted or obsolete, any more than I would say that learning to drive a shift-on-the-column car was a waste. Thousands of newbie programmers post questions every day that I could have answered back when I only knew COBOL and BASIC.

What employers say they want is five years of .NET programming, but what they really want is someone who understands their business and the problems they need to solve, and can express solutions in some programming language. Many, maybe most, programmers shortchange themselves by not learning core computer science skills, by limiting themselves to fiddling with language and platform gadgetry instead of mastering the fundamentals, ignoring things common to almost all applications (like relational databases), and not caring about the business they function within.

To use an analogy, tens of millions of Americans own expensive cameras and associated gadgetry. Only a small percentage will ever take a decent photograph, because they only know how to work the gadget. They never bother to learn about light, composition, contrast, or color. Instead they spend hours "fixing" their snapshots in Photoshop. Programmers are largely the same: most of them spend all of their time arguing about things that don't really matter, like whether the significant whitespace in Python is good or bad, or if Eclipse is better than NetBeans. Almost none of them can explain what a compiler does, or even solve the FizzBuzz problem. As long as programming has a low barrier to entry and high demand, there will be more amateurs than professionals with jobs.

I have several lawyers in my family and I can say that my experience with lawyers is a little out of line with yours. Most attorneys spend years working way too many hours in horrible and demeaning conditions with only a small shot at the kind of success you attribute to the profession. There is less demand for attorneys out of school than for computer programmers. The top 5% of attorneys make lots of money and may even be media stars. But how many billionaire attorneys can you name? How many rank above Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Sergey and Larry, etc. etc. in any list of income, net worth, or name recognition? Or even likelihood of being invited to Davos or the Grammies?

I don't think programming is low prestige. Working at Burger King is low prestige. Working as a bank branch vice president (as so many business school grads do) is low prestige. Maybe socially computer programmers are geeks and not as sexy as the Wall Street investment bankers, but we're also less sexy than movie stars, supermodels, and basketball players. Not everyone can be at the social peak --there wouldn't be a peak if we were all there. Programming is not a rock star job, but neither is working as a junior attorney at some big law firm, or being an on-call physician at a local hospital, or working at a bank. Having a stable well-paying job where you aren't treated like scum is not what I call low prestige.

As for the future masters of the universe in Ivy League schools getting law and finance degrees, those are largely a parasitical upper class, not a group you can just break into by registering for the right major. Most of those people will never produce anything of value in their lives; instead they end up in Congress or the White House or on boards of companies that soak up taxpayer money to finance their vacation homes in Aspen. It's a lifestyle we might all aspire to, but it's one you are usually born into or marry into, not something any of us can achieve. Because programming is real work that requires imagination, skill, and intelligence it's not something the parasite class wants to do. They don't avoid the hard classes for fear of being called geeks -- they avoid them because they can't fake their way through. Programmers tend to emulate self-made entrepreneurs like Gates and Jobs (both college dropouts), not the Yale Skull & Bones set you are enamored with.

Your postings remind me of the bizarre "Hellmouth" essays Jon Katz posted on Slashdot a few years ago -- a lot of sour grapes about how the jocks and rich kids beat up on geeks at high school.

Myspace is an extreme example...you can also just start your own little consulting firm and do quite nicely. The 50-something guys who lead my local .Net user group do that, and seem quite satisfied...smug, even.

Alright HS, what's you take on this FizzBuzz issue?

Your casual racism is appalling, as is the evidence you provide (or don't) to support your claims; I see a broader spectrum of programming lifestyles in the various factions of the company for which I work than you appear to have experienced.

Frankly, a dismal article.

Yes, it takes a while to learn Java, coming from somewhere else. Java is the most gratuitously byzantine framework to program in since COM. There's an order of magnitude too much architecture there.

By contrast, try learning Python or Ruby. If you can't start producing something useful in a week or two, you have no business programming.

Good coders *will* always be good coders. The long learning cycle for pain-in-the-*ss technologies doesn't change that.

It's not eating a salary for 6 months to invest in a quality employee. Studies suggest that based on metrics like speed and bug scarcity; differences in experience don't matter after 6 months. That doesn't mean there is no productivity during that time.

Sensibly, one would consider the long-term cost. If you expect to program in Java for at least 3 more years, that means based on those numbers you're looking at a worst-case scenario of 17% difference between a 2-yr experienced java programmer and a 2-yr experienced .NET programmer. Contrast that with the results showing average programmers are 200-300% more efficient than the worst, and suddenly the argument doesn't seem so convincing. If you trust Brooks, a new team member is going to slow you down no matter what. There will always be things to learn. That 17% is probably a high estimate.

More importantly, this doesn't consider at all any of the intangible elements. Sometimes a person doesn't necessarily contribute all that much in the metrics, but due to their attitude or organizational skills cause the team to really jell and bring everyone up. In the 2004 Olympics, Puerto Rico creamed NBA superstars who didn’t form a good team.

Hiring for the library knowledge when it is not specifically needed (a lead dev) is mainly reducing the chance that you'll end up with a complete failure of a programmer that you have to release in 6 months, while also reducing the chance you'll hire someone great who will make the team three times as productive over a 3 year period.

Those figures above are taken from the Coding Wars section of Peopleware, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister.

(Sorry forgot to cite source)

I just have to cast my vote for point 4. As a Linux and Microsoft developer, I've spent time on both sides of the fence, and I must say, the Linux world is especially aggravating sometimes. Microsoft may have issues that I disagree with, but for the most part, they produce quality tools, and I find I miss those tools greatly when I'm doing cross-platform work.

.NET is an absolute pleasure. I only wish it was widely supported on multiple platforms (don't anyone dare bring up *cough*... Mono... ). SQL Server is also a dream compared to Postgresql and Mysql, if a bit bloated.

But to counter one of your points, we need Linux. Free market thrives on competition, even in the increasingly convoluted software space. As much as I want standards, I'm glad for diversity.

Can't help but respond to your response. Will respond to each point, not necessarily in their respective order (but, in their order of relevance).

5). True. Sour grapes indeed.

which leads to :

2). True also. However, not necessarily a deal breaker. I sympathize and completely agree with the idea of burning out of something you love. But, at the risk of sounding like an essentialist, there are things one is naturally drawn to, versus other equally accessible things. It's one thing to love something and burn out... that requires a bit of distance to recharge one's batteries... versus not loving something in the first place. Refer to 5).

1). True also. But as numerous blogs have suggested, there is a huge difference between a programmer and a developer. A true developer will embrace new technologies and libraries, so long as they are congruent with one's problem-solving strategies... that's part of the fun. Whereas I cut my teeth writing low-level c code for psychophysical displays, I'd much rather code in python or matlab if I can get away with it, so long as it solves the problem at hand.

"A good career choice is one where, you can fall out of love, but still do well in it as long as you don't completely hate it."

Fundamental flaw, redux. http://www.halfsigma.com/2007/03/why_a_career_in.html#comment-63069594


3). True. Nonetheless, you seem to be limiting the possibility space, which inherently limits the probability of success. Success entails seeing opportunities where others see obstacles. If the search space is too congested, choose another less-congested domain.

4). It may well be MS's fault, or Google's fault (in the near future), or IBM's fault back in the day. That's a blanket excuse.

The second argument, regarding heterogeneous technologies, is also erroneous. Do the technologies fundamentally address the problem space? Open-source works great for certain domains, such as scientific applications. It still doesn't keep me from using my powerbook for my personal machine, or a pc for games. To everything there is a season...

BTW, I remember running into a Yale grad a few years ahead of me returning to New Haven from his ibanking gig in NYC, met him at the Daily Cafe. Said he was making good $$ but hated his job, had no time for a personal life... he was practically begging us to hang out with him and just play video games. Made a hell of an impression on me. Love what you do.

Programming is great. I'm pretty good at it, have some degrees from top-ten schools, etc. I know a lot about it.

That's why I write software as a hobby. Far more fun that way.

Why are salaries in law, investment banking, public accounting, medicine, etc. high? BECAUSE OF BARRIERS TO ENTRY!!!!!!!

Yes, but they also mean that not everyone will be able to get the juicy spots. As HS found out after he graduated from law school. The benefits of being past the barriers have to be weighed against the possibility of not making it at all. I don't know how easy it is to become a Big Four accountant, but surely only a fraction of CPAs will get in.

In any case, programming is simply not the kind of work that can be controlled. Just look at all the teenagers and college students who helped build Linux, Firefox, etc - you can't stop them from writing code, or stop people from using what they produce. I agree that many people will eventually tire of keeping up with the technology, but for those who appreciate the technology for its own sake or for what it can do for them, the rapid change is a plus.

I don't know how easy it is to become a Big Four accountant, but surely only a fraction of CPAs will get in.

A lot easier than becoming an investment banker or BIGLAW associate. That's why I mentioned it.

Big Four recruits at all the state schools.

Of course it's better to go to an Ivy League school.

You don't take the CPA exam until after you start working at Big Four.

Every good programmer will shape their base knowledge/essences and evolve with hardware.

I agree that programming is a very insecure job but only if you accept it. It’s up to you.

If you accept job to work with dying or very specific technology (like custom interpreter at 5-th layer which is used only in your firm) you're in trouble, because your current job will not evolve you in right direction. Then, if you haven’t time (family, kids, or your current job taking so much energy from you) you will end up very bad.
You will harder find another job as a programmer and your ages will work against you.
That’s truth. But your knowledge is a key, not your ages!

As a programmer you need to be close to hardware, but not so close. ASM today is rare.
There are few geeks coding it very well, but you won’t need it in 99% of coding tasks.
But, for that 1% you will need it, so you need to know at least some basics of it.

I think, C and C++ are very best programming languages for decades. ASM/C is root of all higher languages. They will not take you to far away from hardware (there is ‘C’ compiler for any hardware on earth) in OO abstract direction like Java, Python etc.

But, there is a trick. C is only a tool, but also, if you start with right tool, other doors will
open easily. It is like learning trigonometry to calculate area of triangle. Then, you will easily move on linear algebra.

The trick is that programmers made tools for some specific tasks. Like Visual Basic for ‘coding’ Bank-like applications (rapid application development) which guys from Microsoft made to promote their platforms.
It is ok language to start with something, but move on as fast as you can (learn).
Today programming jobs doesn’t required algorithmic approach, which is nonsense. For example, to apply as a programmer in Visual Basic you need to know how to use user interface and handle some actions. Is this programmer has a future!? Maybe.

Beeing programmer is a constat engagement. As a game/graphics programmer I shape my knowledge all the time, but with ‘C’ knowledge I can do that easily. OpenGL is written as ASM/C library with C interface. Then, Windows API is also C library. If you want your game to run on different platform (Unix,Linux,Windows,WinCE) you can use SDL library to handle windows, mouse, keyboard etc. which is also C library.
Being programmer with glaring future you need to be in touch with new technologies. Read&study, try&learn if you want to be programmer in future. Today, there is a bunch of platforms where games are ruling on. Look at mobile branch: consoles, PDA’s, SmartPhones etc. Again, there are just input output devices to program. Programming will ever be for programming hardware, electronically or biotronically. If you know how to catch mouse and display some pixels you’ll get a job. Use higher languages at your own risk. There are designed to do some simplified task and maybe tomorrow will be replaced with more suitable soulution. Programmer without consciously programming hardware is just part time job person.

Again, you have a very confused vision of what job security is. There is not corporate job anywhere with job security outside of that which you create for yourself.

No software developer with a good reputation and ties to the field will write this article. If you have a network, and people know you can solve problems, you will be turning away work 5 years into this field, not looking for it.

People in other fields (publishing, accounting outside of big 4, marketing, hellm even law) DREAM about the problems you state.

If you think law is all that great, try it. I guarantee you that law, with its 90 hour workweeks, hourly interaction with asshole partners, and gruntwork, is leagues away from being the paradise you describe. Lawyers make, on average, close to what programmers do, but with about 3 times the stress and 2 times the hours.

"(4) It's all Microsoft's fault and open source stuff will save you.

That's silly geek religious arguments."

Try Python :)

Try being a 49 year old ColdFusion programmer looking for a job. Please put a coin in my cup when you see me on the streets.

"Try being a 49 year old ColdFusion programmer looking for a job."

That was a hot technology a few years ago.

Yes, but they also mean that not everyone will be able to get the juicy spots. As HS found out after he graduated from law school. The benefits of being past the barriers have to be weighed against the possibility of not making it at all.

You don't actually need to weigh the alternatives - the market will do it for you. People who choose law, accounting, business and other "high-prestige" careers are taking a sizeable gamble, and those who make it in are the big winners. I think this explains a lot of seemingly-contradictory experiences: artificial barriers to entry are in fact detrimental to overall growth of a sector, as predicted by economic theory.

"(4) It's all Microsoft's fault and open source stuff will save you."

For those of you whose livelihood is dependent on one or more of the great Software Companies, open source stuff will FUCK you by eventually making the stuff from Software Companies completely superfluous.

I agree with much of what you are saying, but I also think the original article was very focused on programming as a sole thing.

Computer science is formally "the art of problem solving". Programming is the focus of your article, but more often than naught, programming is coupled with something else to be successful. Programming by itself, is a mundane, and repetitive component of CS.

Couple programming with mass advertising, and you have myspace.com.

That's the trick in computer programming, not to make your career out of the art of programming ( we all get bored of our own art eventually ), but couple it with another field and find the niches.

A huge area needing exploration is bioinformatics, computers and medical research. Take for example the research being done in Florida with rat cells and AI.

This post isn't well put together, as I need to run, but I just wanted to point out, programming by itself IS low level. Coupling it with other fields is where a lot of money exists right now. Maybe that point will bring some discussion as well.

it's that time of the year when all the modules were released to the client, hence, idle time for me. ive been a computer programmer for 7 years now (im sure not that long time compared to others) but i feel like i need to either stop being one or get some more certifications to secure a high-paying job. out of boredom, i googled "former programmer" just to see what's in the future for me should i decide to quit being a programmer. that's how i came across your site and am now panicking because your article made sense to me. question is, for a 20something who is tired of computer programming, what's the next advisable step to do? quit altogether and study again?

Programmers came from engineering or physics backgrounds. The prgrammers of yesterday are the "hackers" of today. You've com along way baby! Programming is the way to go for a pretty secure future in this day and age.

Programmers came from engineering or physics backgrounds. The prgrammers of yesterday are the "hackers" of today. You've com along way baby! Programming is the way to go for a pretty secure future in this day and age.

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing your generation (and you by extension) are more special than those before you.

I remember interviewing for a software engineering (no such thing) position at a major telecom company in the last half of the nineties. I was still fairly young. The company made a hard sales pitch about how young and hip they were. I looked hard for someone with gray hair. None to be seen.

I interpreted this to mean that I had no future there. I doubt that's the message they were trying to get across.

One sure sign that computer and tech fields suck: government and big corporations sponsoring programs to go into schools and convince young people that such careers don't suck. Can you think of any other fields where this occurs? I can, and they all are marketed as a noble thing to do (read: take one for the team) or try to convince you that they don't suck (despite contrary commonly known evidence).

I'm 27, I've been programming for 7 years now and I'm sick of it. I'm really good at what I'm doing but I've learned to dislike it, can't stare at the screen more than a couple of hours. I'm looking for a career change at the moment.

I found your article interesting and relevant.

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