Do You Have A Fear Of Programming?
Or are you like most of us and have resigned yourself to the fact you will never understand it.?
For the clever ones, it is all about being able to see the solution before diving into the problem.
These insurmountable calculations help us achieve extraordinary feats, like routing human beings to the uncharted craters of Mars. By the very nature of the burgeoning computer science discipline, “we’re dealing with things that are on the edge of what humans can handle and more complicated than ever before,” said renowned computer scientist Donald Knuth.
While no one programming legend can possibly accomplish any big feat solo, there are programmers worthy of fame for their supreme productivity. Every so often, leaders of new revolutionary tools make an explosion in the field that reverberates across generations of new programmers.
But what’s even more interesting is that some of the highest-achieving programmers — who can make sense of such unfathomable complexity — can’t foresee a lucidly bright future of programming. Several accomplished computer scientists share a grave concern of the shift toward our more fragmented web. Tools that act as layers, like frameworks and packages, are created to help programmers be more productive, but some experts fear they’ll actually have the opposite impact long-term.
If the foundation of the modern world is built on software, then deconstructing the toolkit of today’s software leaders can help us not only become better programmers, but develop a better future. Contrary to popular belief, greatness isn’t exclusive to unreal legends. Culture critic Maria Popova puts it most eloquently when she says, “Greatness is consistency driven by a deep love of the work.”
True greatness comes with consistent drive to seek new problems, be able to see the floor before the roof and stay curious about what’s inside the black box.
After researching stories on and conducting in-depth interviews regarding seven programming pioneers, from computer scientist Donald Knuth to Linux’s Linus Torvalds, we uncover productivity patterns common to achieving greatness and pitfalls of which to steer clear: There’s never been a widely used programming tool that was created by just one lone wolf in a cave. Sure, Jeff Dean is the trailblazer of the famed distributed computing infrastructure upon which Google towers. Peter Norvig may be immediately associated with JSchema. David Heinemeier Hannson’s pride and joy is the Ruby on Rails framework. But each of these creators had support for their groundbreaking inventions.
Teamwork is the foundation of an empire that lone wolves simply can’t sustain. It’s why Google, home of world-renowned engineers, doesn’t tolerate lone wolves on campus.
It’s the antithesis of “Googliness,” and software development in general, for two core reasons.
First, the mere proximity to other engineers fuels greatness. When Rob Pike worked at Bell Labs, well before making waves on the Unix team, he recalls fond memories of hovering around clunky minicomputers with terminals in a machine room in the Unix Room. “The buzz was palpable; the education unparalleled,: he said. “The Unix Room may be the greatest cultural reason for the success of Unix as a technology.”
Folks like Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (authors of C Programming Language) would code, sip coffee, exchange ideas and just hang out in the Unix Room. It was this necessity of convening in a physical room that helped turn Unix into what it is today. Since the proliferation of PCs, however, proximity to each other isn’t as rigid in modern programming. Going out of your way to meet with smart engineers, however, is a timeless essential contributing to greatness.
Second, every great coder, with however pristine a track record, must check in their code for a peer review. Pivotal Labs, the company behind the software-scaling success of Twitter, Groupon and a dozen other high-growth Silicon Valley startups, requires the freedom for any coder to look at any code. It’s simple: If code is too dependent on one person, your business is susceptible to dire wounds.