Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Programming: Are you mad??

Well, I am a programmer, I build software, and I’m lovin’ it.

But, hey, what if someone ask me to be a programmer? How anyone can be a programmer different than others? What actually makes you a Geek?

Dear readers, I’m not a very old programmer; neither I have made apps like Microsoft Windows or Google Search Engine. But if someone come to me and ask for my advice, “hey, can I go for software engineering?” I will surely reply, “ARE YOU MAD?”

This somehow sounds a bit weird, but that’s the way it is. Programming is a passion and it definitely needs madness. So my answer continues that until you are mad about it, you can’t be a geek programmer. And, to be a Geek, you don’t need to make gigantic apps; all you need is passion, and madness about programming. If you are loving your PC more than your pet or your car, than you are definitely geeks. But if you get tired after writing thousands of lines of code in a day, then you better find yourself another profession.

If you turn the pages of history, you might remember the virtual machine boom in some 1960's, then sometime later the internet boom, then the GUI change, then comes Java craze followed by .NET bubble burst earlier this century. A few years after that there came rich internet application blast and now a days the hype of cloud computing. Every now and then software development is changing its paradigm almost completely. The learning curve for software developers shoots like Mount Everest after every year or two, much unlike other living professions like doctors or building constructors. So if you are joining our software fraternity, you make yourself sure that whatever you learn is going to expire in a year. So again it needs madness to stay updated. This is certainly not my pessimistic approach; it’s a ground reality that no one can deny. It’s not warning, its motivation, rather, as a matter of fact it’s only your perception; either you see a glass half empty or a glass half filled.

Dear readers, what makes you a different programmer among all? there are several reasons. In my case, the foremost reason, I like programming irrespective of development platform or language. As you see, if you are calling yourself a software engineer or programmer, than what I personally believe is that there must not be any further definition that you are a Java developer or .net developer. You are programmer, and you should know how to program or what to program.

The other reason, I can write better Google queries. there are millions of gigs of lines of codes always available to help you out, but what matters most is how u find the relevant information that you need. Yes, software fraternity is quite helpful and open to share knowledge, so should you.

Another fruitful suggestion, add some of key blogs and news letters to your RSS feeds, so that you can always stay in touch what is being happening in the software fraternity.

Well, to conclude, you might remember Morpheus quote: “there is always a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” But the problem is, there is no path actually, there are only pathways. Programming is just like mathematics, in both the cases you have an objective to achieve and a set of rules, but the choice is yours to adopt which pathway. There is nothing like good or nothing like bad, its only the requirement that makes it useful or useless.

Happy Programming !!!

courtesy: also published as a detailed article "Crazy about coding: What it takes to be a serious software programmer" by me in February 2009 issue of Spider Magazine - Pakistan's largest selling IT magazine (www.spider.tm | http://www.spider.tm/feb2009/main.html?pgsrc=szone&submenu=szone1&dirtarget=none)

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Atif Siddiqui - Technology Evangelist

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