Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Political Programmer

"You know, most programmers are libertarian", my workmate stated.

"I know", I replied, attempting to imply in my tone of voice that I had met many of these abstract libertarian programmers my workmate spoke of.

"It's because they think, 'Hey, I can solve this problem myself, I don't need any help!'".

"Yeah, they're also massive assholes".

I'm not a libertarian. I believe in giving as much help as possible, with the hopes that I'll receive some help in return. Maybe this makes me a bad programmer.

I finally began to come to terms with the idea that, not only am I a *bad* programmer, it was very likely I would never become a decent, or even remotely competent programmer. I'll certainly never be the hackers I romanticize. But, really, this no longer bothers me. Now that I've thrown off the shackles of insecurity, I'm free to learn at my own pace, and I'm starting to REALLY enjoy it. I read whatever strikes my fancy, work on whatever personal projects excite me in my off time, and this has been an amazing turn-around. I'm not trying to get through that C++ book to become a C++ super-guru anymore, I'm just reading it because I'm enjoying it. I'm no longer allowing myself to be embarrassed by a lack of knowledge in any topic anymore, and as a result I'm free to learn more.

If you find yourself becoming a slave to an ideal image of yourself, it may be time to re-asses that image and figure out if you really want to be that abstract that ideal, or if the ideal is what is really holding you back.