There is something about the inexorable march of technology that erodes nerdly youthful idealism away.
Where once there was the geeky passion for the new and novel, now it all looks like echos of the old. Before there were late nights playing with the latest toys, now it's just getting the darn thing to work.
There was a time when I thought Macs were the best thing ever. Oh, so cute and happy, it's like a puppy that poops ozone. I huddled under my pile of Inside Macintosh books, warming my hands by the glow of the screen, content in the joy that comes from knowing only one thing and thinking it's the best ever.
Now I know too much. I've used several operating systems and programmed for them all. I have Linux boxes, Windows PCs, and Mac in my house right now. And I hate them. I hate them all. They're all equally annoying for their own unique reasons, each an equal pain to fix when they break, each finding their own ways to not do what I want them to do today.
Sure, I remember back when I could fight a good language war with the best of them. I'd throw my stake in the ground and defend a programming language's virtue to the last. You can't possibly be serious if you write code in X, I'd think, don't you know that you can't easily do [insert favorite obscure feature here]? And speed! Oh, will somebody please think of [insert favorite premature optimization here]!
Now, in my decrepitude, all these languages look the same to me, modulo a little syntactic sugar here and there. And they're all equally ugly and annoying. Now, language advocacy looks more like a religion, the kind of blind faith you get when you've only seen one of the good books. In my advanced years, if one thing has become clear, it is that all those programming languages out there are a tool, not an end to themselves. So, let's go pick up a good tool and get the job done.
Yes, get the job done. Once again, getting the job done. The days are gone when I'd stay up until wee hours of the morning, writing code that would never get used, just to prove that I can. Grumpy old geeks never write code they don't have to. With age comes wisdom, but also the laziness born of experience. No adding feature after feature that no one wants. No reinventing the wheel when existing code already has been debugged. Do work that matters.
So, then, what do we have here in this old geek? Is that old geek a wise geek? Or just a grumpy geek?
I'm not old, I'm just 29 years old, and I already feel pretty much like you. I remember when I was very excited about Linux, Java/J2EE, PHP, MySQL, etc., a lot of that was about doing fun things just for the challenge and show yourself that you were able to do it. When I got my first job with an important IT company, I was so excited to show my skills and desire to create great things, but after getting some experience I learned that companies are more .
Today, I find that business applications are actually boring, and I don't want to spend my free time doing unnecessary code development because now I have a family that is my main focus... additionally I have discovered that companies are not worth all that extra time compared with other things you could be doing with your life.
I can't say I'm wiser, but I know I have other priorities today =)
Dam'n! I'm not alone anymore.
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