“We, software engineers, have superpowers most people don’t remotely understand. The trust society places in us is growing so rapidly that the only thing that looks even remotely similar is the trust placed in doctors. Except, most people have a pretty good idea of the trust they’re placing in their doctor, while they have almost no idea that every time they install an app, enter some personal data, or share a private thought in a private electronic conversation, they’re trusting a set of software engineers who have very little in the form of ethical guidelines.”
I had the chance to chat this week with the very awesome Kate Heddleston who mentioned that she’s been thinking a lot about the ethics of being a software engineer, something she just spoke about at PyCon Sweden. It brought me back to a post I wrote a few years ago, where I said:
There’s this continued and surprisingly widespread delusion that technology is somehow neutral, that moral decisions are for other people to make. But that’s just not true. Lessig taught me (and a generation of other technologists) that Code is Law
In 2008, the world turned against bankers, because many profited by exploiting their expertise in a rapidly accelerating field (financial instruments) over others’ ignorance of even basic concepts (adjustable-rate mortgages). How long before we software engineers find our profession in a similar position? How long will we shield ourselves from the responsibility we have, as…
Lets admit it. We all are absolutely familiar with status updates that are about so called LIFE. We all see it here and there infecting our walls and notifications.
But why do people post so many updates about life? Here are 9 reasons for your comfort. Sit back, relax and enjoy. 😉
1. They just had a break-up – Ain’t it pretty self explanatory? 😛 Well they loved someone so much, thought life was all about rainbows and butterflies and their status on Facebook was…
In a relationship with that_pretty_girl/ that_handsome_guy
… well we can barely imagine how hard it can be on their lives. They hate everything now. They hate the Sun, the Wind, the kids around event the chocolate lava cake!…And to the limits that they can be heard saying “Shit man! this dog shit! Grrrr!!!!!”. Yeah! they want all of it to show up on your wall.
2.They are getting over a break-up! – Ah! self realization!…Mind you! this is not a repeat point. They are now either Robert Frost or Bob Marley or “Sai Baba“. Filled with all sorts of LIFE CHANGING KNOWLEDGE just by browsing for life quotes on BrainyQuotes or Googling if that’s too mainstream. Yeah! they want to enlighten you so that you learn from those… let it be.
3. They think their life is hell – Be it a family drama or a friend betraying them when going for a movie, everyone considers them to be no less than a military veteran… So? shoot on the wall soldier!
4. They think they just know everything about life – I hate these guys! Seriously!
5. Its trendy for them – When half of the world is talking about it why follow a different path? … and to be trendy all they need is copy-paste. That will easily get them couple of “AWWWWs” or “Its true” and few more red dots on top of their notification icon…They are happy with that.
6. They are the spiritual type – What else they have in life except for talking about it? Shut Up!
7. They don’t need a reason – It is said that nothing in life is free but they want to prove it wrong. They do it for free, without any interest. Enjoy baby!
8. Its in their blood – You can’t change any damn! aspect of it. The only way you can get rid them is hiding all of their posts from the NewsFeed. You want to block or remove them? My condolences are with the other friends of that person.
9.They are real – They don’t shit here and there every now and then. They are genuine. Caution – be prepared to get that “See More” link for a long… really long piece of text.
You feel there are more reasons? Tell me about it in the comments.
I left office today in good mood because I was happy with my work. Moreover it’s friday. No wake up alarms for tomorrow. I can sleep to my heart’s content.
So I just came out of office and started walking down the street. I took out my phone and as usual started playing with it.
Suddenly out of the blue I dialed in the first mobile number that I had. Just in a blink It reminded me of the excitement of having a mobile number for the first time. How much I loved it then. How I wanted to share my number with a lot of people. Also that I had paid 1,000 bucks to get life-time validity which we now get it for free :p
In the meantime I had forgotten that I had called the number. Now it is with some other person. He picked up the call, said “Hello!” twice, yelled it couple of times and then hung up the phone saying “Dhurr sala!”( what you say after getting irritated :p).
I didn’t mind any of it. I just liked that what happened today, reminded me of some good memories and a few good friends 🙂
By confused I do not mean a developer who scratches his head for answers to complex programming problems on StackOverflow or Quora. In this scenario, the developer actually knows what needs to be done. He has an absolute idea about the problem.
My idea about a confused developer is a lot generic. Answer the following questions.
Do you feel like being in the middle of an ocean of languages and frameworks or more generically technologies?
Do you find difficulty in choosing the right tools before you write even a single line of code?
Do you become restless and depressed when you see others at your workplace or friends’ list doing a lot but you are not?
Do you feel unhappy about going to your office and work on whatever shit you are asked to do?
If majority of your answers are “YES” then congratulations! you are in the “Confused Developer’s” club. Now the question..WHY?
The answer is we are humans. We think, behave and react. We fight for survival and they say, to survive in IT industry, you need to be updated with virtually every other technology that’s out there.
Everyday when you learn something you gradually start filling up the stack of your brain. With time, even for a small problem, you find yourself diving into the ocean of language / framework -options rather than actually factoring and analyzing the problem. Finally instead of coming up with some solution, you come up with nothing. Reason – a lot of options create confusion ( although it blesses you with control, but still).
As a solution, I am not gonna advice you to meditate :P. You doctor is “basics“.
Think about the problem at the very first step. Chop a complex problem into small bits of individual problems and analyze them.
Choosing the technology is the second step where you think about the needed performance and ease which comes from the analysis in step one.
Next you find the initial solution and implement it. It does not have to be perfect. It should work and that’s what going to boost confidence in you. With time it will become a better solution.
The last two problems that I have mentioned are more about career options. In India, be it the quality of education or the downfall of economy, candidates choose jobs more based on “packages” provided by companies rather than the scope to learn. Some choose it just because of the company brand. Some choose it just because people call them unemployed. Some choose it just to… choose it; no particular reason.
Whatever it may be, the end result after sometime is disappointment at workplace. You get annoyed ‘coz you don’t understand whats going on and more importantly why.
Choosing the right job is kind of a mission. You do a self-analysis and find out your strenghts. You sharpen your skills and then make a strategy to target all those companies which allow your thoughts to flow smoothly.
That said, finding a job like that is a real tough job again. But you don’t need superhero powers for that. All you need is knowledge, expressiveness, confidence and yes! SAMPLES!. Having a good GitHub or StackOverflow profile can be of great help.
Who does not like to get paid for doing what they like? eh?
That being said, everything needs time and practice. Becoming a developer is not like becoming an overnight hero. Its more like becoming a ninja that asks for dedication and determination. So!, lets dig in!
A few years ago, I got hooked to a popular Australian show that fuelled the dreams of aspiring home chefs. The judges and the contestants became a topic of discussion at home and among friends. It was and still is a great show.
Two years ago, I started my food blog and all my friends asked me to apply for the Indian counterpart of the same international show. Honestly, I hadn’t watched a single episode of it. Here’s why:
1. An actor was the judge/host: While he makes a living by taking up roles that cracks up not necessarily everyone, he was here on this show to convince me that he was knowledgeable about food. Okay.
2. Drama: How much drama can you stuff into a show? Well, looks like these guys have got it down to the tee. If you’ve got a sob story and bucket loads of tears…