Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

Engineering beautiful software jon aquino labs | personal blog

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meaning in the life of a computer programmer

I'm sitting in Seattle airport and, with a few hours to kill, am thinking about how the life of someone who spends most of his time programming computers can have meaning. First, the product that my company is building does help people - it enables them to connect and communicate via social networks. I'm sure that most computer programmers are working on projects that benefit people (whether few or many).

Second, the computer programmer strives with his teammates to solve hard problems. We are yoked together in a struggle against complexity, errors in logic, and legacy code. We assist our neighbor, and in this case our neighbor is our colleagues. Through hard work and professionalism, we love our neighbor and bear each other's crosses.

Bearing one's cross - that is a reality for the computer programmer. There is much that goes wrong, much obtuse legacy code that we wish were otherwise; there is friction, there are problems that are near intractable, and there is not enough time to fix everything we we want to fix. These things teach a person patience, forgiveness, bearing wrongs calmly, hope, gentleness, humility, wisdom, courage, prudence, and fortitude.

I do not need to travel to distant lands to learn these sublime truths. They can be learned in the daily work of a computer programmer.


Post a Comment

<< Home