I’m like a nerd in a nerd store

It’s been ~10 years since I coded for a living (or a grade). While I figured out early that I didn’t need to be writing code in order to get a sense of satisfaction from software design, development, and deployment, I still like to write code.

This is a problem.

Every twelve-eighteen months I pick up a project. The last few years, they’ve been for work, but they’ve been “optional” – i.e. the business could continue to run (thank goodness) if I didn’t do them. And each time, I have the same set of realizations:

  • The role of early learning in language development applies well for software language development – i.e. if you learn a language early, even if you don’t use it very often, you’re still more likely to recall it then if you learned it late. The first language I learned that had referencing and dereferencing was Scheme; the first one where I actually understood it was C. Even though I haven’t written C code in a looong time, I can still remember how to manage C pointers without much thought.

    I’ve been programming off-and-on in Perl for 10+ years, and I still can’t remember how to use $ and @ and @{$_} and $# and other syntactic sugar without making lots of mistakes and refreshing myself every single time. It’s not all Perl’s fault. (Just mostly.)

  • Old habits don’t die hard – they just don’t die. I started as a ready-fire-aim programmer, and every time I start again, I’m a ready-fire-aim programmer. On each product, I design, code, hack, stop, design, code, hack. (At least now I put the design first.) Then I just stop for a while and relearn the concepts (like the ones above) so I stop wasting time.
  • I still get excited about programming – I start a project and I don’t want to stop, I think about it when I’m not working on it, I end up working until late in the night, it takes at least a week for me to start breaking projects into stopping points rather than just stopping when I’m exhausted (or when, y’know, my family needs me for something). I’m glad I’m still motivated by the rush to create.

Anyway, I’m programming now, at least until the end of the week, in between management meetings and interviews and other management meetings and watching my younger daughter learn to sit up. And I couldn’t be happier.

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One Response to “I’m like a nerd in a nerd store”

  1. Eric Says:

    Scott – Saying you haven’t programmed in 10 years really gives short shrift to insidedeal.com. That site was virtual genius and should be recognized as such. Don’t you think?

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