I just had to share this article along with, seemingly, every other programmer on the planet. I chuckled, I chortled, I laughed out loud while reading Peter Welch’s post “Programming Sucks“. I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read it, and not just if you’re a developer. I found lots of analogies with my current line of work and I’m sure you will too.

Catastrophic Error, via stilldrinking.org
Catastrophic Error, via stilldrinking.org

So much of what he writes is just TRUE. Yeah, I’ve been that guy who looks at a snippet of code and says “WHO THE $#&% WROTE THIS?!?!?! oh. It was me….” a few short months after I wrote it to begin with. I do that partly because since I’m continually learning, my code is better today than last week, than last month, than last year. I try to adhere to DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principles and am constantly cleaning up and re-factoring code so that I will be more efficient the next time. Also, sometimes I just write a piece of code to get it done no matter what it looks like. And then later I can go back and clean up the hack I implemented.

Yes, Programming Sucks. But so does anything else.

While I usually do programming on my own as a freelancer, my day job as a graphic designer usually has me working with teams. And let me tell you the same team related issues Peter writes about persist in this world too.

…Fred only works with wood, so you ask why he’s involved because this bridge is supposed to allow rush-hour traffic full of cars full of mortal humans to cross a 200-foot drop over rapids. Don’t worry, says Mary, Fred’s going to handle the walkways. What walkways? Well Fred made a good case for walkways and they’re going to add to the bridge’s appeal. Of course, they’ll have to be built without railings, because there’s a strict no railings rule enforced by Phil, who’s not an engineer. Nobody’s sure what Phil does, but it’s definitely full of synergy and has to do with upper management, whom none of the engineers want to deal with so they just let Phil do what he wants…

It’s funny because everyone should be after the same goal, but everyone comes at the problem from a different, and sometimes unexplained, direction. And sometimes… maybe the goal isn’t to build the best bridge.

everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone”

Most people don’t even know what sysadmins do, but trust me, if they all took a lunch break at the same time they wouldn’t make it to the deli before you ran out of bullets protecting your canned goods from roving bands of mutants….

Peter. Stahp it, you’re killing me. As a *former* sysadmin, yeah I know it. The whole time you’re staring at the machine it works just fine. But blink, just for a MOMENT, and the Weeping Angels appear.

Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses. There’s a team at a Google office that hasn’t slept in three days. Somewhere there’s a database programmer surrounded by empty Mountain Dew bottles whose husband thinks she’s dead. And if these people stop, the world burns…

What are you waiting for? go read Peter’s article over at stillblinking.org