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. =)