Archetypes as a Programmer

Good morning folks,

In this blog, I am going to be discussing archetypes from the viewpoint that I have as a programmer and argue as to why I believe the stereotypes that we are given are actually largely beneficial.


 

A lot of people view programmers or software engineer’s as very socially awkward people. They view us as people who don’t have a girlfriend, who don’t talk much, who don’t ever sleep, and don’t know how to carry on a conversation if they were ever actually near a person who tried to talk to them, unknowing that they were a geek. I have been programming for nearly 9 years, and so I understand these stereotypes that are given to us. When I was in jr. high and high school, I fit most of these programmer / geek stereotypes pretty well. I very clearly understand nights with absolutely no sleep, or actually, good portions of a week, working on the next new project for absolutely no reason but to try and build whatever the idea was. I think that honestly most programmers fit into these stereotypes that we label programmers with.

So why do programmers fall into these stereotypes? From my own experience, I believe that isn’t from the fear of people, but the uncertainty that people carry along with them. What are they going to think? What questions are they going to ask? When am I supposed to laugh at their awful jokes? And then don’t even get me started on programmers understanding of women. We understand binary. We relate to binary. We live for binary. We live for either 1 or 0. We live for either true or false. We live for yes or no. We don’t want to even consider there being a grey space that exists between those 1’s and 0’s, or the true and false. We love the comfort and security of either a yes or a no. We don’t like how tangled up emotions can get and how uncertain and unstable they are. When working with computers, there is *always* a reason for literally everything if you dig deep enough. It’s completely and 100% logical. There isn’t a single aspect of them that is not logical. We can figure out literally anything that we want to. There are no questions that we cannot discover the answers for. We like clarity and sureness.

Why should we have to deal with emotions that are influenced by such frequently unstable factors. Personally, I find the security of programming very comforting. In high school, there is obviously a lot of drama that goes around. When I had a long drama filled day, I loved going home, and sitting at my desk and just writing code. Everything that happened was logical, and could be explained – seemingly unlike human emotions and the drama that comes with it. There is something therapeutic to me about being able to completely ignore every single human emotion and deal with something that is static yes or no. A lot of people view programming as unending problems that have to be fixed. As a programmer, I view it more as the pleasure to get to solve problems that can be solved – while some humans seem to make absolutely NO sense logically and are beyond the help of a logical being (as God made us).

I absolutely love the archetype of a geek, a programmer, and the stereotypes that I have been placed under, by being a programmer. The stereotypes that people find “geeky” or “unsocial” allow me to reduce my own bias in situations by looking at facts, and not playing my own emotions into the situation which make everything more complicated, confusing, and just plain difficult. It allows me to see things more clearly, without emotions clouding my judgement of whether something is right or wrong. But don’t ask me for dating advice unless you are prepared for a completely logical response with little to no emotion. I think that’s probably why we can be viewed as cold, or seemingly heartless. What can’t be viewed logically, and if nothing can’t be viewed logically, why would you not look at it logically?

We not only look at things logically, but we do our very best to eliminate repetitive work that is completely unnecessary. A task that could take hours to do manually, we will find a way to automate and save time in the long run for everyone. See the graphic below:

Geeks and repetitive tasks
Geeks and repetitive tasks

Sometimes we are so logical that we forget the normal world isn’t as logical as we are. If you can relate…you might find the below image amusing:

Programmer Joke
Programmer Joke

 

TL;DR:

In the end, the point is that programmers view everything logically. This unique super power gives us the ability to block out emotional responses to even normal things that you’d expect to have an emotional response attached to. This can both be a very precious gift, and it can also be an annoying curse at times.

Until next time…

Matthew P. Kerle


P.S. Below are two links that you may enjoy checking out. Enjoy! 🙂

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http://discuss.fogcreek.com/askjoel/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=5459‘,

http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-popular-computer-programming-jokes‘,

);

echo ‘Required Links:’;

foreach ($two_links as $link)

{

echo ‘&nbsp;<a href=”‘, $link, ‘” target=”_blank”>’, $link, ‘</a>’;

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