In the recent Visual Studio magazine I saw the following survey:
|Do you sense developer fatigue due to the pace of Microsoft Technology introductions?|
|Yes, some fatigue||45%|
|No, little or no fatigue||26%|
|Yes, significant fatigue||24%|
(I love kicking it ol’school and using tables)
To the 26% that said no I say, “Good, you’re doing your job.” To the rest of you, “Get to work.”
I don’t often write opinion pieces preferring to keep the focus of this blog more on tutorial type posts, maybe because I don’t really consider myself any real authority. I do my job and in the course of my job I learn a lot that I want to pass on to other people.
So why start now? Well, this survey struck a nerve for me. Maybe it’s because this has some fingers in my post about Oracle and Java. In that post I reveled in the fact that Microsoft is able to keep the .Net framework moving forward at a fast pace and that, relative to .Net, Java has become fairly stagnant.
In Jeff Atwood’s post, The Two Types of Programmers he discusses the two types of programmers as mentioned in an article by Ben Collins-Sussman which says there are two classes of programmers, the “20%” and the “80%” programmers.
To this I have a serious problem. I spend a great deal of time reading the latest programming books, blogs and magazines. I do so because I want to stay current in my field. If I was doctor it would be expected that I would stay up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the medical fields. So should we as programmers.
Our job is to be the best programmers we can be. Fatigue should be irrelevant. Even if you are working in a world were the language features and APIs aren’t moving forward there is still a lot you can do. Read up on patterns and anti-patterns, if you haven’t read Code Complete, do so. I find the idea that programmers are perfectly happy to rest on their laurels completely ridiculous. Strive to become a better programmer, push yourself and your knowledge. As you become better at your job you will become a better person all-around. Knowledge is power.
If you stay current fatigue isn’t an issue. By keeping current incrementally there won’t be any fatigue. Start reading up on .Net 4.0 right now. By the time .Net 4.0 releases you will be pretty caught up and boom!, no more fatigue.
You may say, “Well, my job is to use this or that API or SDK. Knowing anything outside of that is irrelevant.” To that I’m calling “Bullshit!” It’s not about just writing code. If being a programmer was just about writing code then anybody could be a programmer. Writing code is easy. Writing code cleanly, efficiently so it’s easy to maintain, now that takes some skill. The best way to do so is to stay current.
Saying that you’re experiencing “fatigue due to the pace of Microsoft Technology introductions” is a serious cop-out. Staying current is your job because the more current you are the better programmer you are. If I was a fry-cook I’d want to be the best damn fry-cook on the planet, learn the lingo, find the right temperature for the grill so it cooks the eggs and burgers efficiently, work on recipes that taste good and can cook fast. I’m not a fry-cook, however, I’m a computer programmer. Being the best programmer I can be means that I have to stay current on new technology. Screw fatigue.
Thank you, that’s my time
high-pitched whine as I drop the microphone