computer programmer question

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computer programmer question

Postby Twinz » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:01 pm

What do you like most and least about your job?
Twinz
 
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Project Question: What do you like most and least about your job?
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Re: computer programmer question

Postby barretttomlinson » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:14 am

Hi Twinz,

I am a retired PhD Chemist who spent my whole career programming computers to solve chemical analysis problems. I programmed microprocessors and PC’s to do things like measure the areas of peaks eluted by gas and liquid chromatography, analyze data from Mass Spectrometers and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometers, etc.

What I liked best: I loved using my knowledge of chemistry, math, and engineering to solve chemistry problems using a computer. It was never dull. The work was rarely routine. I am a night owl and people let me work weird hours without hassles as long as I delivered what they wanted.

What I did not like: Sometimes my managers insisted I work on weekends if we got behind our promised delivery schedule, including a few times insisting on Friday afternoon that I cancel my weekend plans to solve a “crisis” problem that I had no part in creating.

I got into this career before the microprocessor and PC were invented and the world has changed a huge amount since, so it would not be safe to think that if you were to follow my footsteps now that you would experience anything like these advantages and disadvantages.

Good luck!

Barrett L Tomlinson
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Re: computer programmer question

Postby mpphlipot » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:52 pm

Twinz,
Here is a perspective from another former programmer. Like Barrett, I used to do programming in my job but have now moved into more managerial work.

What I liked best: The way some people can get wrapped up in a book or crossword puzzle or hobby project… that’s the way I was with programming. The hours in the day flew by faster than I could imagine. There was always just “one more thing” to try before going home. I mostly worked with user interfaces and I got a lot of satisfaction from being able to visually see the results of my programming efforts. I also had a lot of fun debugging programs. I always turned it into a little competition between me and the computer and looked forward to “winning” when I fixed the bug.

What I disliked: Meetings and documentation. The bigger the software project, the more coordination that has to happen to ensure all the components will work together. I understand that, I respect it, I just didn't like doing it. Meetings and documentation are critical but I always viewed them as just a necessary evil.

Mike
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