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An Observation about Programming

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The Gorn:
To those of you who have opted to drop out of the IT career field who used to develop software...

If you once had excellent software development skills, you'll probably never get your coding chops back, without struggle and hair pulling and massive aggravation.

Never. Not unless something external is motivating you to re-learn.

Don't kid yourself. Aspects of it are like riding a bike but high level SW development is more like pro athletics. And NOBODY appreciates it.

Ten years ago I was excellent, and also fast, at C++ on both Windows and Linux. I worked very, very damned hard at it and I was good. Not a poseur, a real developer.

I dropped that skill set out of superlative justified bitterness at the way my previous shithead clients had treated me.

You guys who think you can get back in, you're wrong. It will require struggle even to come 1/10 of the way to where you were in your prime.

Programming wise I feel like a former athlete in a wheelchair who is being asked to power walk.

Today I'm trying to add some functions to a Wordpress website. I need to use PHP to make the changes happen.


A million fucking stupid little rules and syntax issues. PHP is crap anyway.

Everything mocks me personally with failure, bugs, no way to debug, no idea how to set up an ecosystem to debug this shit anyway.

I always, without fail, get everything wrong in syntax and logic. No matter how extremely very hard I try.

After what felt like a major battle, I got a shitty tiny little function working.

I despise the immaturity of computer language designers who make inconsistent shit. In PHP there is a distinction that only the millennial dickheads understand between functions that emit output directly (like a "print" statement) and those other functions that return a string value that you can compose and print LATER. They don't TELL you which is which.

Ass holes!

And that's the baseline against which your merit as a developer is measured.

I'm glad I left that area, although I had nothing solid to replace it with. I really dislike what it does to me and my mental composure to be constantly mocked by the tools.

Mocked, taunted. It's personal!


Aren't you a rain of sunshine today



I haven't lost anything because I was never a great developer to begin with. I could hack code when I had to, usually Korn Shell / Perl scripts, occasionally mixed in with C - and 99% of the time in the sysadmin role it's maintaining code and making sure all the libraries are there and stuff, when porting.

I wrote a ton of Perl scripts 10 years ago, almost full time.

The Gorn:
Software development is different than any other craft. I can do almost anything else that requires skill and concentration - home fix-it projects, such as plumbing, drywall repair, wiring a new circuit... or I can cook, I have really gotten into cooking in the last 5 years... and I have a Zen flow experience more or less and I feel like I am controlling the tools and the outcomes.

Software is quite different than any physical craft. Unlike any other craft, tiny subtleties just kill your progress. And software's response to human effort is asymmetric. The more effort you put into software often the worse the results.


That sounds really aggravating, Gorn.  I think you do a great job with websites.  I couldn't work with websites like you do.  I'd be ready for a strait jacket and padded room.  I can't help myself so I had to do this  :P

Sometimes it all becomes too much and that's when you just have to park it for awhile and do something else, like cooking.  Do something that makes you feel good for a day.  It doesn't have to be anything big, just something that brings you joy.


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