You Are Not A Programmer

So you write code every day, maybe in a nerdy language like C or even in assembly. And a company is paying you for this job. When someone asks you "what do you do?", it's normal for you to reply "I'm a programmer", isn't it?

programmer definition

Well, let's see if you are a liar. This is a simple yes/no questionnaire about what you have done in the last two years.

The Real Programmer Test

  1. Have you studied a new programming language?

  2. Have you used a new technology?

  3. Have you spent some time to optimize your code?

  4. Have you programmed for your pleasure out of the working hours?

  5. Have you eaten at least 50 pizzas?

  6. Have you drunk at least 3 coffees every day?

  7. At least once did you choose to not use your favorite programming language because you thought it was not the best choice for a project?

  8. Have there been more happy days than sad days when doing your job?

If you replied "yes" at more than half of the above questions, congratulations, you are a real programmer!

Explanation of the Test

If you are not a real programmer, maybe you cannot understand how the above questions come from, so here there are some hints.

  • A programmer is curious by nature: he likes to learn new languages and technologies, even if they are not required by his job (questions 1 and 2).

  • A programmer knows that every code needs some refactoring at some point (question 3).

  • A programmer is happy when he can write code (questions 4 and 8).

  • A programmer is realistic: he knows that one-size-fits-all doesn't exists in computer science; in other words, for some purposes a language/technology can be better than another (question 7).

  • A programmer needs to have it's brain constantly fed by carbohydrates (pizza) and sometimes powered by caffeine (questions 5 and 6).

That said, you may argue that many of these characteristics are innate. Well, you are right! Many people write code because they think it's just like any other job but they are wrong. Programming needs passion, devotion and the right way of thinking. And over all (as I've read in a pizzeria):

If it were an easy job, everyone would be able to do it


Cover image by icudeabeach taken from DeviantArt licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

Luca Sommacal

Luca Sommacal

Italian developer (mainly in C for embedded platforms), Linux learner, addicted to rock music, history, science and few other things. Follow me on Twitter

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