Are you a good programmer?

Something I’ve struggled with for a long time is how to define a good programmer. It’s not an easy task since it’s fairly subjective and there are a lot of different opinions on this. So many that you could say that this is just another drop in the bucket of irrelevancy known as But a post being pointless hasn’t stopped me before, so damned if it will stop me now.

The first question that a person might ask after reading the title of this page is: Do you really think the iPad will revolutionize the way schools handle reading material? And that is a fine question, but a bit off topic. So if I were to tell you what first question to ask, I would tell you to ask: Who the hell are to ask you…me if I’m eh you’re? Oh f–k it, you get the picture. And the answer is: No one really. ANTI CLIMATIC!!!11oneonesevenone I’m not the world’s best programmer and won’t be winning the prestigious Byatool Programmer of the Year award. (And sadly I’m the only one in the running.)

But what I do have is a thirst… No, not that kind. I have thirst for knowledge.

Yeah yeah, I know “cliche”. However, the point is still there AND that’s only part of it. You see the thirst for knowledge is only a step, and it’s the easy one. Anyone can WANT to learn more, it’s taking the time to DO more. It’s not enough just to show up.

And I think it’s the doing that separates the real from the others. The doing is what separates. Separation is bound to doing. Doing separation. F–k where was I?

Look, despite what people tell you, life is not a box of chocolates otherwise we’d all be morbidly obese… and happy. Life is more like… one of those damned invisible fences with a shocking dog collar. Yeah you’re going to get zapped more often than not but at some point you’ll find that one area in the fence next to some kind of electricity tower that screws with the fence and allows you to break on through. Course most likely you’ve already lost most of your brain living so close to an electricity tower, so in reality you’re just breaking through to a life of madness and too dumb to know it.

But this was a really stupid analogy anyhow that doesn’t really make any f–king sense, so who cares?

The point, if there ever was one (which even I’m debating at this moment), is it is never easy. NEVER. It’s always a struggle. It’s always a pain in the a–, but it’s necessary. Why? Because it defines what a good programmer is. The struggle. Or more to the point, the perseverance. It’s so easy to just be happy with what there is now. You know, the old “If it ain’t broke, then let’s run the wheels off it” mentality that I think comes from an earlier generation. (Most likely the generation of any given current professional programmer)

Fact is, it’s OK to try something new. It’s OK to venture out into the unknown. And more importantly, YES YOU WILL BE SCURRED AND GET FRUSTRATED AT SOME POINT! This is completely natural. You aren’t stupid. It isn’t just you that feels that way. You aren’t a mutant because you are afraid you’ll fail. Sure I don’t doubt there are people out there that just naturally jump into the unknown, feel no fear, and figure it out in a day. That’s why they are billionaires and rare. For the rest of us relatively poor goofs, we have to deal with all of that AND perform.

Just remember, you have been conditioned by multitudes of areas to be afraid of change. Hell, even your brain fights change because it’s far more efficient to keep things as they are. It’s even a basic principle of existence: path of least resistance. What am I getting at? Just do it. Be that person. Fight your way into the new world.

Why? BECAUSE YOU’RE A GOOD PROGRAMMER. And if this doesn’t sound like you, well you know what you have to do. Well two things: One is to stop being such a baby and set a dentist appointment for your annual check up. Cavities are no laughing matter. Second is to stop letting your fears and comfort get in the way of your growth. After all, this is your (And I’m assuming) profession. It’s your job to be the best you can be.

It’s going to suck. It’s going to be nerve wracking. It’s going to push you to your limits… and you’re going to like it. Just remember to repeat to yourself, “F–k the noise, it can’t fade me.” (I’m not exactly sure what that means but it sounds tough.)

2 thoughts on “Are you a good programmer?”

  1. Dude… what are you smoking? LOL
    Sean, your question has zen-like qualities. It’s almost as if you are searching for the meaning of life in your programs. You won’t find it there.

    But reading your stuff is entertaining, nonetheless. A bit disturbing- but entertaining.


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