15 April, 2007

The Importance of Being Passionate About Coding

Throughout the years I’ve worked with a considerable amount of software professionals and have known a countless number of computer enthusiasts.  I dare say that the number of those who are passionate about their involvement in the aforementioned fields is far greater in the latter of the two groups.  I wasn’t going expound about this topic for some time but a recent phone call from a previous semi-co-worker (an employee where I recently held a contract) who had just returned for forty days in India learning some new technologies.  


    I have personally seen a multitude of coders over the years who were quite competent (or close enough) at what they did in terms of developing new systems or upgrade existing ones.    What I don’t see as often is that elusive fire that burns within the not-so-common coder, software engineer, developer, etc.  Some of you may be that person or know that person.  The one that is incessantly infatuated about this new algorithm, concept or design which might be revolutionary or simply solves a problem in an elegant way.  


    Even if you don’t know someone personally, you know of people like this.  In the spotlight we know of people like Guido van Rossum, Larry Wall, Donald Knuth, Kernighan & Ritchie.  Mind you not all amazing coders are language developers, though I would fancy a guess that most if not all of those who have the yearning for their craft have on one or more occasions figured out whether on paper or in their heads a way in which they would design a language or re-work an existing methodology to make it better.  


    Coders with this mindset and thirst don’t operate this way for fortune or fame, they do it because they have a natural yearning to create, design and improve solely for the purpose of knowing that whatever it was they needed to do was being done right.  You might recognise these people by their visible expression of excitement when discussing a new piece of code they worked on or a problem they re-worked.  However it is usually more apparent when you speak with them about coding in general.  Their eyes widen and you can hear the infatuation in their voice.  They sound much the way they did when they first discovered coding whether it was as a child or as an Adult.  That’s the fire and passion I’m referring to, and it is my hope that everyone, coder or not, gets to know at least one person like this, even if they themselves are one of these people.