“Software Engineering”, a field of interest launched in 1968 that aimed to bring product design and construction skills to computer scientists by having very clever computer scientists think about what product design and construction might be like and not ask anybody. – Graham Lee
The idea of certification and licensing for software engineers came up in a Slack I’m on. Of course I accidentally ended up writing a wall of text that really needed to be a blog post, so here we are.
I think those algorithm coding white board tests used by many tech companies to vet potential employees are meant to be some kind of measured standard. However, as an industry it’s been collectively decided (mostly by default rather than intent) that there should be alternate paths to a career, which makes that kind of standardization feel like more like gate-keeping.
Additionally, the vast array of technologies available make it hard to quantify knowledge like that. Are you certifying for front end, backend, general knowledge? Say you’re going to have multiple certificates. If it’s front end, are you standardizing a particular language or even framework? How long would such a thing be valid for?
Setting standards also means being able to take a step back and evaluate the industry as a whole. It would surely slow progress of new technologies, but then I don’t necessarily feel that’s a bad thing, if I’m being honest. Move fast and break things was meant to be an approach to solving problems in new ways (yes, and make money fast and easy) but unfortunately seems to have taken the discipline of writing software along with it.
It’s all something to think about, and standards, if not licensing as other engineering disciplines have, is not the worst idea I’ve ever heard. I even say this as someone who didn’t graduate college. If licensing was put into place, I’d be out of the running and at the same time I feel that so much software is built in a way that’s harmful to users and maintainers alike that something should probably change.
I didn’t get a lot of time to read interesting things recently. I had surgery and then was doing a lot of studying. Still, the pieces I did read are pretty fab.
I don’t want to get good at gaming, I want to escape the relentless pressure to improve myself | Eleanor Robertson | Opinion | The Guardian
“If I’m going to enjoy the absurd capitalist soma of video games, the last thing I want to do is feel like I’m being badgered by a superior at a dead-end job.” Yes. This. But also this whole article because I don’t want to “git gud” at video games either.
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Love, Kindness, and the Song of the Universe: The Night Jack Kerouac Kept a Young Woman from Taking Her Own Life – Brain Pickings
A beautiful tale. For all the turbulence and other problems in Kerouac’s life, this stands alone almost as a piece of fiction someone dreamed up.
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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea: George Orwell’s 11 Golden Rules – Brain Pickings
Orwell tells us how a proper cup of tea should be made, including some associated opinions.
- Website rebuild
- Editor’s Ephemera column
- Issue production
- Reading stories
- Storybin tests
- Custom React starter kit
- Plan tea app
- Rails api/proxy fix
- Comp Sci study
- Ruby OOP book
- YDKJS books
- Short story draft
- Prep book release
A bit out from surgery and it’s time to start getting all this exciting stuff done.
LSQ moves forward even when I don’t. My planning sessions earlier this fall are showing their worth now as I have some wiggle room to absorb being out of commission for a bit.
That list looks long but much of it is copy/paste work or reading or basic issue production I can do with my eyes closed at this point. A good time to get some music listening in!
I am bound and determined to get those Storybin tests finished this week. I have put them off for far too long. They don’t need to be perfect or even complete at this point, they just need to be done enough to trust the happy path.
While I’m benched at work I have a chance to get a lot of studying done. I want to try to bounce around a little and get some reading done as well. Finding the balance between practical application skill acquisition and deepening my knowledge remains tricky for me.
After all the trials last week with all my config issues on various sample environments I’m inspired to make my own projects as easy to set up as possible.
In between all of this good work, I have some writing to do. Next time I sit down with my story-in-progress I’m going to just dump out the rest of the rough draft. It can be a mess. I’ve spent so long editing my novel into shape that I need to remember how to cut loose and just write again.
Speaking of the novel, I ahve to get myself together for its release. Even if it’s just some basic planning, my author website and the book website deserve a little love this week.
I’m doing my best not to feel behind after basically taking the last week off side projects. There is always a ton of stuff to do so my best approach is just lining things up and knocking them down and occasionally I get to send something lovely out into the world.
The web development field is a mess. Tutorials only 6 months old are out of date. I’m dependent on stack overflow for answers to everything. I spend more time fighting config files and setups than I do writing code.
I wouldn’t want to scare anyone away, but I would be tempted to give dire warnings to folks looking to get into web dev right now. There is a shit ton of bs involved that has nothing to do with building apps or changing tech culture. Our tools are busted & confusing as fuck. It’s only because I’ve been at this so long that I can calmly navigate this quagmire.
I don’t mind learning new things, but that learning needs to feel like I’m getting something sustainable out of my time. Honestly, I don’t think “always be learning” is healthy. It’s the nature of the beast, but I don’t think we’re built for it. I just would like the industry to get to a point where there’s a sense that any of this is learnable with consistency.
I’ve literally lost interest in React before I’ve even built my first app in the framework and that’s entirely to do with the amount of learning that has to go on that has nothing to do with what I’m trying to build.
I’m just looking at all this and seriously questioning what we’re getting out of it. How is this better than the PHP apps we were building 10 years ago? It’s a slightly better experience for the end users? Maybe, but there have been other related innovations that make things faster. I mean, I built this site on WordPress for a reason. It’s fast, it’s got a stable UI, it does predictable things.
Are these web apps we’re building really anything more than html forms and pages? Is this really any more straightforward (and powerful) than what we were using a few years ago? I was working through a React course last week and the instructor half-jokingly said he called himself a “professional forms developer” which is scarily accurate for what many of us are actually doing.
All of this complexity is supposed to make the “developer experience” better. We’re meant to be more productive and write better, more stable code by using these frameworks. I’m just not seeing that play out so far in practice. If we’re not even having a better experience doing the work, then what is the point of all this, really?
At the end of the day, I like building things. I really do. Today is just one of those days where the barrier between what I’m doing (and where the industry keeps going) and being able to build things is very very high.
A bit behind on posting these because of some ongoing health issues. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more reading again soon. 😀
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The Rise and Demise of RSS
Fabulous article on the history of my beloved RSS. I still miss Google Reader every single day.
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Where in the World Is Larry Page?
Interesting read that gives some insight into what’s going on at Google, and I was really surprised to hear that Page is little more than a phantom at the company.
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Kitchen Soap – On Being A Senior Engineer
As I struggle to find my identity in this field, this piece was helpful in clarifying that my attitudes and approaches are in the right place, even if my technical skills are a mashup.
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for the first time
my feet seemed to me
like two decrepit
of that woven
of those glowing
from “Ode to my socks” by Pablo Neruda
I would like
to be used for
my death. Not
only my body
will be compost
but the thoughts
I left during
from “Peanut Butter” by Eileen Myles
Someone clever once said
Women were not allowed pockets
In case they carried leaflets
To spread sedition
Which means unrest
To you & me
A grandiose word
So ladies, start sewing
Made of pockets & sedition
“Dangerous Coats” by Sharon Owens
(I can’t link to this one as it seems it was only available on a deleted Tweet?)
The swallows, about to return to the beams, went back to roost again;
The candle at my window, just going out, suddenly revived its light.
from “After Getting Drunk, Becoming Sober in the Night” by Po Chu-i