Uninteresting programming

by brian d foy

Related link: http://alpha-geek.com/2005/04/05/uninteresting_programming



One of Jeremy Smith's friends say programming isn't interesting, and its not where the "buzz" is. I say that programming is not meant to be interesting: it's what you do with it that counts.

Someday I'll sit down and put down all of my thoughts on how people choose their first programming language. I still think it really has nothing to do with how good that language is. It seems to me, in my very unscientific and unmethodical observations, that people either reach for the closest language (i.e. the one with installed tools or the one their buddies use) or the one that matches the lifestyle they want (i.e. "I want to be a hip web programmer with yellow tinted shades").

Part of second group is the geeks on the bleeding edge who can't commit to one (or even a handful of things). They are that fifth standard deviation (the one on the high side!). They are the people who have already abandoned the technologies that most people are just starting to use. I tend to think they use new things just because they like using new things. "Do something useful? Pshaw!"

The danger comes when the middle part of the curve chases that lead group, or when that lead group thinks the middle group should follow them. It's okay that the alpha geeks are on the frontiers exploring new things and creating new technology: it's a necessary part of the ecosystem. A lot of the times, however, I think their choices are motivated by the desire to learn and be different than create something, which is the flipped-around for the other group, who just try to make it through the day without breaking anything

So, let's make it personal. It's not the passive "programming is boring", it's "I'm bored with programming". For a lot of people, programming is not the point, and it doesn't have to be the source of passion.

3 Comments

adamsj
2005-04-05 22:47:36
How I Picked My First Programming Language
It was the early seventies and there in the used book store was a programmed IBM text on Fortran. It was only fifty cents, so I bought it, read it, answered the questions and worked the problems.


I never did a damn thing with Fortran, other than solutions for the ideal gas equation in my college chemistry class, but it was still my first programming language.

jwenting
2005-04-06 01:02:57
no choice
Many people don't pick their first programming language, it's picked for them.


Their school has a mandatory programming course (maybe as part of the math curiculum) and that course uses Java, Pascal, or whatever.


They then maybe go work for a company and get involved with a programming team which uses a language. The team learns they person has some programming under his/her belt at school and gives a crashcourse on that language. There's language #2.


And so it often goes.


I picked up languages 1, 2, and 3 at uni. Language 4 and 5 during graduation work. Language 6 was a derivative of language 1 I picked up myself because it looked promising to build a career on. Language 7 and 8 I got thrown into by my first employer (learn it and go make this...).
Language 9 I picked up myself when I was sick in a London hotel and the nearest bookstore had a good book on that on sale.

menglis3
2005-04-07 17:04:11
Whats interesting and whats not ?
I'm not too sure the article title relates very well to the article. In terms of whether programming should be interesting
The idea part is interesting ("What if you could.. ?").
The resulting implementation of that idea is interesting (cf maps.google.com ) is interesting.

The actual patterns used (whatever the programming language) are interesting only in terms of what they add to someones body of knowledge - I used link lists to solve this problem, and I have something I can use to help resolve other problems (With proper documentation and dissemenation, this will also assist a bunch of other people).

In terms of bleeding / leading / trailing edge programming languages, the same questions can be asked of technology in geenral. And the resulting answer is that IT is meant to be boring for the users. However, to feed and house me and my family while I play with all the neato gadgets and laguages and so on, I need to find a way to turn those neato gadgets and laguages and so on in to something that runs as effectively and efficiently (and perhaps ubiquitously) as, say, my mobile phone.
And thats the interesting bit.