Get Off My Internet
or why Old Timers do it better...
Actually, I don't think Old Timers do it better. I just don't think the young 'uns are inherently superior. So, like, there's this rumor that it's harder to get a job when you're older. And that may be true. But I doubt it, as there are economic reasons why it's unlikely that's the case.
And since I aspire to be a coder, I will concentrate on that field of interest.
Actually, let me start with the only reason why a younger person might be a better job candidate (all other things being equal, a.k.a. ceteris paribus, which you can just bet those twenty-something's haven't heard of) is if a company markets its products to children, then a potential employee who was more recently a child will be better in tune with that company's market demographic.
See, I played a fair bit of Slaughter Quest™ as a young lad. And back in the 80's (1980's that is, not the 1880's you young whipper snapper) Slaughter Quest™ was all the rage and all sorts of industries (board games, toys, comics, computer games, books, movies... so, basically media of any sort) were hoping to cash in on the craze. As such, I'm sure all sorts of companies loaded up on young RPG specialists who had the rules to Slaughter Quest™ memorized... just like now, many a company has a Social Media Officer (and, yeah, SMOOO sounds about right to me) to better help them navigate the world of Twitter and such.
Ironically, even though I just sat down to write, I'm not really in the mood to write an epic tome, so let's just leave it at that. In many endeavours, being closer to the market demographic is important. Ironically, computation algorithms, mathematics, and hard core logic (the back bone of programming) don't really fall into that category. Yeah, sure. Coming up with the next Big Thing ™ may well require someone to be 16, but implementing it will always be done quicker, faster, and more efficiently by 61 year olds (you know, because after those 61 year olds lost interest in the Popular Culture, they actually started to become interested in weirdly obscure technical details, but I digress).
Before the Internet, when I wanted to learn something, I went to the public library. Where I grew up, we had an awesome public library. I could not have cared less about programming at the time. But I bet, if I had wandered over into the appropriate section of the stacks back in 80's (same 80's we were talking about before, seriously, your memory going so quick, and at such an early age, but whatever, back then) there would have been upwards of twenty (yes, that's right, count them) twenty tomes on computer knowledge. And if you wanted to learn the craft, you'd have your choice of K&R (or is it K&C, whatever, ANSI, C, the white book, if you know, you know, and if not, suffice to say, it's the book you would have learned computing from back in the day) and if that didn't do the trick... tough luck, no computer knowledge for you.
So, got that? Anyone who has been programming since the 80's learned when it was hard to learn. They are simply cut from a different cloth. I can say this with a straight face and with all modesty, because I am not that guy. Hey, here's the thing. Back before there were word processors, if you wanted to write a paper (you know, something like this website), you'd (or I'd, but I wouldn't do it, so really, more like you'd) wind up scratching out some notes on a bit of paper, maybe type a rough draft, mark it up, and then type it over again, hoping against hope that you (yes you, buddy boy) didn't make too many mistakes so you wouldn't have to retype it, yet again. It changes the entire process of writing, pausing between words lest one make a mistake. And you want to know when I started writing? After they invented that word processor thing with spell check, grammar check, and all the rest, when the first draft was almost (almost) as good as the last. And when did I start programming? After they invented GUI based IDEs, which means well after emacs and vim stopped being the defacto standard.
So, just keep that in mind. Not me, but that other fifty year old guy, he (or she) is a freakin'... what, freak of nature, I guess. Seriously, can you imagine programming by punch cards? What sort of deranged mind does that take? It's not normal. And you're going to tell me that hour for hour, year for year, some kid (or grown man in my case) is going to match this level of complexity of thought (like ever), well, if so, you're just kidding yourself.
These days, everybody writes.
Everybody takes a zillion photographs.
And programming is slowly going to work its way down to where its taught next to algebra and drivers ed to pretty much everybody.
But back in the day, it was murderously hard. And anybody who did it successfully was a breed apart.
So, for the most, I've said what I wanted to say. Once upon a time, Douglas Adams made the witty comment that humans still thought digital watches were a pretty cool idea. Eh, all I really know about that is that when I was in the store the other day, someone wanted to sell me a watch for $750. Wow! Weren't they giving those things away as prizes in cereal boxes once upon a time. I mean, I can almost remember getting one when I bought a large fries, like twenty years ago or something. And just the other day, someone wanted to throw a $750 price tag on a digital watch. My, how far we've come.
In other random news, I read an employment survey the other day. OK. It wasn't actually an employment survey. It was actually some online thing, online service, online survey of its customer base, programming content, and like the average respondent was thirty-something, like a low thirty-something. I think it was thirty-two to throw out a number. Ten years in the industry made one 'Senior'. Heck, I just might be a 'Senior Design Architect' before I ever accept a paying gig in the computer industry. And then, take some script kiddie (sorry, I just sort of like the phrase, feel free to call me a script kiddie, I'd take it as a compliment) who's just now graduating college, started fooling around with code when they were thirteen (so, a year off, junior year in high school, buckle down during the internship, slow sophomore year in college, bring it up to speed for the interview) and you're looking at ten years experience. I mean, that's the real reason the youngsters are in demand. I've been interested in code for like 3-4 years... seriously, I don't know when I started, just that my website recently celebrated it's Third Year Anniversary, so it can't be much longer than that. And in any sort of reasonable light, that puts my skill level on par with a High School Senior Whiz Kid who cares about code. So, yeah. Put that kid through college, give him four more years experience and I'd hire him over the current version of me any day of the week ('cause if you're not willing to work Sunday afternoon, don't bother applying).
But then, I've had a life (or mathematically, you could take the lifespan, call it life experience, of two recent college graduates, and fit them both nice and snugly into my total lifespan, so like, twice the experience, half the man, or something like that, obviously going to have to work on the tag line). And in that life... or let's just say, a person my age has probably done the house thing if they want to do the house thing, has done the raising of children thing if they want to do the raising of children thing, and all the rest down the line. So, the actual reasons for getting a high paying (and hence, high stress job) sort of peter out as one gets older (i.e. I either have the car, kids, house, wife or I don't really want it). So, an annoying job is just not worth it... which sort of explains it all to me.
I mean, sure, I'm sort of non-linear in my thinking, which, hey, doesn't that just prove I'm hip and happening and up with the times: Square-Daddy Poopy-Pants, clearly, I am not. But whatever. Clearly one of us has lost their focus, the gist of this here rant. So, let's back up and take it from the top. I hear complaints all the time in the online forums (yep, I'm a lurker, never did learn how to program that VCR... and getting a user name is just too much of a hassle for the likes of me... or you know, if I feel the need to rant, I just do it here, but whatever, online forum, random rant, folks talk, and), I just saw some video documentary about programming and the oldest guy in the room wasn't in the room. He just sort of made a guest appearance. And, why? Well, because, for the most, us older guys don't have to. It really is as simple as that. We don't have to.
If money was important to me, I would have spent a lot more of my life chasing it. I didn't. Obviously money is just not that important to me.
What is important to me is spending my time working on what I want to work on... not some stupid CRUD application or making sure a login password is validated prior to sending it back to the server. Seriously, how much money would you have to pay me to keep me working on that kind of... socially useless, no not really socially useless, just not intellectually fulfilling, project?
Eh, whatever. I should wrap this up. And maybe (yes, just maybe), I should write down a little more than just Digital Watch the next time I make notes, because I've completely forgotten why I thought it was important to mention Digital Watch, except for 'Hey, they're cool' and '$750, you've got to be kidding me'. More to the point, I have no idea what I will think is important or interesting next week. This week it's trees (directed graphs), just taking my time, mosying about. And it won't be the Next Big Thing™. And there's no way it will be a Facebook... how is that even spelled correctly, Face Book? FaceBook? Me, I don't know. But I do know whatever I build will be beautiful (or it not beautiful; at least randomly chaotic and alcohol inspired).
Code should be beautiful.
Life should be beautiful.
And gosh darn it, I'm beautiful.
Now, if you'll excuse me, my drink needs a refill, and I'm thinking it's about time I deciphered my notes...
Seriously, Digital Watches what was I thinking?
You know, I can remember a time I wasn't so forgetful... and when if you sat down to write an article, you really mapped it out in advance, because the actual execution was so bloody difficult. But not today. No! Any alcohol inspired fool can blog today. And by the looks of the Internet, most of us do.
Actually, just kidding on that alcohol thing.
Simply looking for a scapegoat
to explain my mental meanderings.
But then again, aren't we all...
Or I know!
Here I am,
just saying the first thing that comes to mind,
so you know,
young at heart,
clearly, a spot-on cultural fit!
© copyright 2016 Brett Paufler