Saturday, February 03, 2007

BYBS: Programming

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I have a love/hate relationship with my job because I work with computers. Specifically I create software – for those of you who aren't familiar with terms like programmer, software development, etc. take a closer look at your web browser. Now imagine something a lot less interesting. That's what I do.

The hate aspect of the relationship is very easy to see: I tend to pull my hair, I run around looking tense, etc. When deadlines roll around I am usually stressed. And when I am tracking down a particularly difficult problem (a "bug" in computerease), I can get downright unsociable, morose and depressed.

But the love aspect is there too. Working in this field often has little rewards that appear as you make progress. Days where you have little victories like that are always very nice. Then there are the times when you do something downright clever. Alright, this doesn't happen very often with me, but every once in a while when it does, it can make your week.

Software is also in a class of activities where the end product is, well, ephemeral. A computer program is like music in this way. You can burn the paper that the music or the program is written on, but that will not destroy the program itself. As one might see similar themes and harmonies in music, there are similar organizations for programs.

Getting even more metaphysical, a program can be said to exist outside time and space: a program is independent of the medium used to display it. If you completely destroy a CD that it lives on, for example, you can get another copy and it will behave more or less the same way.

As a person who tends to be introverted, a sort of ephemeral construct that exists outside of time and space is appealing. I mean…it sounds cool :-)

The icing on the cake has been the berserk, out of control rate that computers and software have been developing for the last 50 years or so. Mind-boggling advances have followed, one after another, to the point where computer animated movies are not only viable, but quite popular. Computers that were once room sized are out-performed by systems that can fit in the palm of your hand.

What this all boils down to is a nice profession that has kept me out of trouble as well as interested for my entire career. The break-neck pace of development has sometimes even made me somewhat well-off, or at least in demand.

If I were a baseball player I might say: "Computers have been vaary, vaary good to me."

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MsDemmie said...

Thank you for the insights - happy BYB Sunday!

Blue Panther said...

Programming is something that I have always wanted to do, but either I am not destined to or I am not smart enough, I find most of the programming languages are sheer Greek to me.

Maybe some day...

Happy BYB Sunday!

Kuanyin said...'re one smart cookie! Happy BYB Sunday!

Hopeful Spirit said...

I share your love-hate relationship with computers. Nothing exasperates me more (except maybe the IT guys -- hahaha, couldn't resist) or serve me better in my profession. These days, having my computer or Blackberry fail me feels like an amputation or being sent to exile island (like on Survivor, if you watch that). It is amazing to me how dependent we all are on technology!

stev said...

mmm. looks like you love your job vaary vaary much ;)

incidentally i almost went into programming after graduating... (ok i majored in programming but...)

i like your view of things tho

personally a major put-off for me was i like to see things in a big picture way. and quite often all i see via programming is just small segments. thus not my cup of coffee.

CyberCelt said...

Well, I hope you had nothing to do with Vista! LOL

I have seen computing go from slide rules to laptops that weigh 3 pounds. The technology is changing so fast, I find it hard to keep up.

I programmed in Fortran using datapunch cards in 1970. That's it for me.

Happy BYB (a day late for me). Why did you put this tag on your post?

Jaime the half-tongue said...

It sure does beat mowing yards in the Mojave desert. I can't think of anything better to do, except, maybe, being a porn star (not born with the traits, thought my 4 year old could someday choose such a profession).

BYOB, no, wait BYBS,