On being an assembly-line programmer

It's recruitment time in the Philippines again, and companies in search of fresh programming talent are hitting the colleges to chat up the latest batch of computer science soon-to-be-graduates.

I read http://chasys.net/blog/?itemid=141 and thought I'd reflect on this industry thing. This is still not a full reflection, but we'll eventually get somewhere.

I'm learning a lot of things from my internship here in Japan. The most important thing I've learned about the computer industry, I think, is that I'm not cut out for the usual positions.

Don't get me wrong. I love programming. I love the thrill of getting a system to work. I love it when people write me with thanks and feature suggestions. I love taking something unknown—a new toolkit, a nifty idea—and figuring it out, making things work. I can spend days programming. It's fun.

However, I don't see how software companies will let me also indulge my love for teaching. I love that, too. I love explaining things to people. I love getting people to figure something out. I love computer science. I can't stand it staying just in my head.

And yes, I want my social life. I want to interact with people. I want to feel I'm making a difference to people I know. I don't want to be hidden behind layers of management. I don't want to work on things I can't talk about.

But then again, I want to be able to match a student's pace much better than I would be able to do in a lecture. I want to reach students who don't normally go to teachers for consultation, too. I also want to be able to help students of differest schools, and I want the freedom to take off in the middle of a semester for some conference somewhere.

I also enjoyed the short course on Perl I gave some time back. I'd like to do Linux and OSS training as well.

I'm seriously considering tutoring and training, with the occasional short consulting thing on the side. I have from now until February to figure out how this is going to work out. =)