I got home from school and I was watching a show on the Discovery channel today about SETI. A lot of talk about communication with extraterrestrial life forms, studying their languages, what our first impressions might be, all stuff like that. I was amazed at the jobs of some of the people working on the project, really intelligent people doing outstanding work and making great discoveries. It really got me thinking about where Iím headed in life.
I want to be a software developer. Iím already working on several small projects, and Iím about to start a proper commercial one very soon when I get the capital sorted. But after watching this show, I got thinking. Everyone knows about Neil Armstrong, and Iím sure they will in a few hundred years. Same as weíll always be taught about Newtonís laws of motion in physics, and how Thomas Crapper invented the toilet. But will we ever remember any software developers?
Maybe Bill Gates and maybe Steve Jobs will be remembered for a few hundred years, but they werenít just programmers, theyíre also fantastic businessmen. As much as we all love Linus Torvalds, Anders Hejlsberg (creator of C#, Turbo Pascal and Delphi) and Bjarne Stroustrup (god of C++), do we really think these pioneers will be remembered in 200 years time?
It frustrates me; because I know already (and Iíll probably learn more later in life) that software development is quite a time consuming and very difficult thing to do, and probably the most brain-straining task a person can do on a day to day basis (aside from maybe being a parent). But by its very nature, software development is one of those things where you canít grasp how difficult it is, unless youíre actually in the industry yourself. Personally I donít think Neil Armstrong has anything on Anders Hejlsberg, but the average Joe wouldnít even know who Anders is.
Is this lack of recognition one of the driving forces that seem to make a lot of older, more experienced programmers a little frustrated at the jobs? Is it what makes them lose the passion they once had? How many of you more mature programmers are still into programming as much as you were when you weíre a freshman?
Sorry if my negative comments spoil your day. No matter what the answers I hear are, I'm still going to be a developer. I can't imagine life any other way.