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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 10:27 AM

Quick, non-technical question

I've been a computer programmer all my life, but I have never had the opportunity to work with another programmer.

I have always just assumed that after getting my CS degree I would be working in a fun exciting environment with people like me.

Instead I'm the nerd working for jocks. When I try to talk to other techies (actually that's like one time, every few years), they think I'm an idiot too because I do not know how to talk to them either. I have never had anyone with which to bounce coding ideas back and forth. I'm not accepted by any group.

Doesn't this seem a little unusual?

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Quick, non-technical question (Original post)
DaveJ Feb 2013 OP
Recursion Feb 2013 #1
DaveJ Feb 2013 #2
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #3
DaveJ Feb 2013 #4
ManiacJoe Feb 2013 #5
DaveJ Feb 2013 #6
ManiacJoe Feb 2013 #7
DaveJ Feb 2013 #8

Response to DaveJ (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 10:30 AM

1. Have you tried joining an open-source project?

Team programming really is a different world (and hopefully you did some of that while getting your CS degree?) You can get some feel for it if you find a project on github or sourceforge that's asking for help. Not the same as being in an office, but then again with Skype and IRC it's getting closer to that.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 10:35 AM

2. I don't have time

Last edited Fri Feb 1, 2013, 12:18 PM - Edit history (3)

I spend 13 hours a day dedicated to my employer. 3 hours of that is sitting on the train.

But I'm working on my own project. Because when I am unable to walk 2 miles back and forth, I will lose my job. I'm been homeless and spend all my time trying to not let that happen again. So I will need my own website to fall back on. I simply can't do free work and risk losing everything and being on the street.

Edit: College was late 90s and I don't think open source was the huge deal it is now. I didn't even know they existed at the time. Nobody ever mentioned open source projects to me. Even if there were, I was still focused on my full time job while attending college. I thought working would be good experience, which I later found out, nobody cares at all about your job when you were in college.

Edit 2:

But I guess the crux of the matter is, is it normal to never be in the same room with another developer? It is driving me insane. I need to constantly simplify what I say to people. I can't talk to people without receiving blank stares. Talking in terms of my own profession is looked down upon. I always thought I'd work with other people with similar skills, but it doesn't look like that's gonna ever happen.

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Response to DaveJ (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:43 PM

3. its kinda lonely work


when you think about it. hours spent in front of a screen unwinding layers of problems, staying in the zone. i know it's a rare rare day when i get to talk about coding to anyone. i work in a computer sales/repair shop during the week and code on weekends and evenings. even at work the other techs are hardware hackers.. user-level as far as software goes other than basic operating system admin.. installation, troubleshooting, maintenance,.. point is they're pretty damn smart and they don't know C from HTML and that's a gaping chasm.

in my town, the local college doesn't offer *any* computer science and neither do the high schools. none. zero. their idea of a computer science course is "Microsoft Excel". fact of the matter is despite the ubiquity of computer code these days, the coders themselves are clustered in a few geographic areas. the rest of us are left kinda hanging out here in userspace.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 02:15 PM

4. Good to know it's not just me.

I think I'm sensitive to things more than most people.

Most people go happily through life without worrying about stuff I do.

Ok, then, good to know. I'm somewhat lucky that I work with one guy, who I taught everything about coding, and over the last year, he created a website in the hope of making some extra money. Today, he told me he just got his first signup! He's getting 20 unique visitors a day in his 1st week. I was thinking 1/100 is a pretty good success rate. I'm also working on my own site, but it's taking me more time.

But I just wish I worked with someone who could help me whenever I have a question. Instead I need to post questions on forums with people who I know work in skilled teams, who probably think I'm an idiot for asking such things.

When I went to my last interview, I was having to talk to techies who talk to one another all day. I have nobody to talk to about such things and I don't think they take that into consideration. That I actually need to work harder than them from day to day because nobody is helping me.

Anyway it's just driving me a little nuts but I will try to be strong.

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Response to DaveJ (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 04:49 PM

5. I have been on 1-2 projects where I was the only programmer.

However, there were other programmers around to talk to.
Most of my projects involved multiple programmers.

It is always better to have other technical people available to talk to (or email to). It leads to better designs and fewer bugs.

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Response to ManiacJoe (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:57 AM

6. So I guess you can see my frustration.

Teams looking for new people would find me pretty undesirable now, since I do not know a thing about working with others. My boss's and their bosses, nobody has been able to teach me anything of value. I've had to try to pick it all up myself, and those would just include whatever parts I happened to come across. They do not even send me to classes.

There appears to be no way out at this point for me, wouldn't you agree?

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Response to DaveJ (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:27 PM

7. You might look into the contracting companies.

They will normally place you on jobs where the client needs an extra body or two to assist the full-time programmers for a length of time. When the job is done the agency moves you to a new gig. It is a good way to get your hands on lots of different things.

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Response to ManiacJoe (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:51 PM

8. This is kinda an academic exploration

My path is pretty much set already I think.

To get all the contract jobs in my area, I'd either need to move or drive over 2 hours a day. I take the train to the city, but a lot of contract jobs are in the suburbs.

I hate to be pessimistic, but with contract jobs they'll throw one out on the street at the slightest hint of a financial crisis.
It doesn't matter how good you are. Full time jobs will keep the good reliable workers, but people working contract jobs are considered expendable. So I guess it's a matter of taking the risk of losing all access to work in my field, or taking less risk but having a less cool permanent job, and continue to work on my own stuff

Anyway it's not just about getting a job, just lonely and wondering what it's like for other people.

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