Curiosity

June 10, 2024

You ever hear about those 10x programmers? I am certainly not one of them. I always assume that I am a pretty average programmer.

I’ve only been doing this for about ten years, and I am certainly not a mathematical genius. So, I always confidently assume there’s folks out there far more capable than I am. This simple fact of life is actually one of the few things I can be confidently confident about.

My explanation for being average at programming is simple: I haven’t invested a tremendous amount of time building a variety of challenging projects that would push me forward. I’ve also seen other incredibly capable people at work.

Programming, you see, isn’t my entire life. I can’t bring that level of dedication to my craft that others can. Some certainly are also more naturally gifted, but it’s usually hard work and luck that gets you upper percentile results.

The linguistic angle

In fact, I far prefer the meta commentary around programming and a linguistic angle to programming compared to the actual bore of… writing the code. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a proper program that works well.

I do also enjoy the architectural discussions. But some of the algorithmic stuff is probably the most boring to me. The more mathematical it gets, the less interesting it is to me. (There are some exceptions, of course.)

But I love it so much more when the code I have written just looks… beautiful, and the seemingly perfect words were chosen for any given variables, functions, classes, and more.

This can be a high bar: I can’t always give my code the thought and love that I wish I could, but I try for my own projects. And even then, I frequently don’t have the time to truly sweat the details.

But I do have one thing going for me, and that’s my curiosity. Although that curiosity does not always translate to action, which may very well be my biggest weakness.

Embracing understanding through curiosity

I have always been a curious person. I enjoy taking things apart and questioning how things work. As a result, I’ve often found myself embracing philosophical platitudes or, even worse, skepticism when it comes to various subject matter; some obviously unrelated to coding.

So when it comes to obtaining new perspectives, that curiosity helps. I enjoy asking people about their approaches, and rationale behind particular decisions. What trade-offs they have considered.

When colleagues or folks online feel a certain way about a particular approach, I quite enjoy hearing their reasoning. It’s why I enjoy personalized blog posts so very much. They can shed light on the minds of others. Sometimes it just happens to be about coding.

In the end, this curiosity always keeps me on my toes. And it’s one of the reasons I think one should try being open-minded. Clinging to dogma will only make you old and grumpy faster, I believe.

Tagged as: Personal Programming