On being an assembly-line programmer

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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. =)

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at sacha@sachachua.com.