Wednesday, June 22, 2005

engineering

I'm a software engineer - have been for 20 years now. I love to code, to create, to build things that work well. But I think I may approach my work differently then the men I work with. And I think that difference shows up in our blogs.

Now maybe it's just because most of the people I work with (and thus know) are men. But most of the blogs I am aware of are written by men. And they are full of programming tips, thoughts on the current state of the industry, and things like that. They are good reading, but that's not what I feel I have to say.

I wanted to blog - and I felt that was the pattern I should follow. But I just didn't feel I had anything I wanted to say on those topics, so then I didn't feel like blogging. Finally I decided I'd just try my own voice and see where it would lead. I still have no idea where, but maybe over time it will become clear.

I love my work intensely. But when I come home (and when I'm not still coding even there), I read novels and magazines, knit, and I just don't pick up a book on programming for entertainment. I love to *do* the work, but it ends there. I worry that makes me a less serious engineer than those around me. I love to code at work, but programming is not an extracurricular interest for me. I wonder if that is because it was not my college major.

I guess I'm also a heretic in that I view programming as an art rather than a science. I write my best code when I am connected to my muse - it's not after reading a book or about a particular technique (though I do look things up for reference). But it's an expression of a vision in my head about how something should work, what's the cleanest, most understandable path to make something work. And when I can factor something out to reuse - to make something general rather than specific, it makes me happy. I have never gotten over the sheer joy of seeing something work - it's an adrenalin kick.

So I don't know if this is a female approach to engineering, or if it is the approach of an untrained artist. But it works for me.

2 comments:

Pete said...

Hi Maureen, Great blog.
I have to say that's more of my approach as well. I'm more of an old school hippy programmer than a nerd programmer. (See this link for context)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I'm sorry, I know this is an ancient post. But I'm a female CompSci grad who is just getting started, and it feels good to know that there are other professional software developers out there who feel that way about coding.