What is the best day to become a programmer? It was, is, will be yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Respectively. I tend to be a cold hard light of the day realist about most things, but one of the few areas about which I am perpetually optimistic is software programming. As software programming is a broad topic, I’ll focus on the areas of options, ease of use, and reach. Let’s imagine how this applies to a fictitious novice jumping into software development.
Like any craft where you repair something that is damaged or create something out of nothing, having the right tool for the job is essential to success. As software interacts more and more aspects of our lives, programmers need ever expanding options for languages, tools, and best practices. Thankfully, we’ve got them. The sheer number of programming languages alone can seem a bit overwhelming on the whole, but if there is a job to do, someone has probably already done the hardest parts of it for you.
With even the vaguest of Google searches, our new developer will be off and running. The currents of IT support websites are well established and will insure a novice will end up with some useful tools and heaps of guidance. Sites like StackOverfow, its parent StackExchange, and CodeProject have made a permanent stamp on free and open peer support. Tutorials, essays, answers to extremely specific problems, they are all there for the taking.
The languages and the tools available also continue to mature and become better understood and supported by their respective communities. This is an easy point to overlook, but technologies live and die on the communities that form around them. For those who like something to hold, it’s very easy to find amazing books on software programming. I could hardly overstate how valuable the books on my bookshelf have been.
At the risk of being the prototypical cranky old man, kids these days have no idea how hard it used to be. I don’t think they are missing too much though. You can learn a lot by struggling on your own, but success and a helping hand are pretty nice too.
My final argument that today is the best day to become a programmer boils down to one word. Reach. Broadly speaking, I mean how far a piece of software can go, the amount of work a bit of software can accomplish, and how fast it can do it while continuing to grow are truly mind boggling. Small computers are all around us in the form of, well, pretty much anything these days. A crafty programmer is able to extend their reach into those devices to make them work more to the programmers liking. Come to think of it, I don’t see why my washing machine couldn’t text me when it’s done. It doesn’t have an alarm. Maybe this weekend…
To go along with the swarm of small computers surrounding us, internet services are available to be harnessed. Telecommunications, video, social media, ecommerce. All of these areas become toys for a developer to mix and match. More than ever before, a programmer’s digital world and physical world can be bent to their will. My friend wants to order cat food via a text message. I’m 90% of the way there.
The Interactive Team at Network Center, Inc. has the knowhow to get the job done. Even more importantly, we are excited to find new and better ways to exceed our customer’s expectations on time and on budget.
Today is a good day to code!