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Incoherent ramblings, devlogs, edgy philosophy and other topics of interest


[#79] [Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:00:41 CST][tech]
■ On programming "culture"

During these trying times one would expect that those with so-called "higher education" would be among the few to manage through, yet most of my professional colleagues are having just a hard a time as those without degrees. Those outside this case are among the few that weren't completely and shamelessly abused by the academic system that promised them so much but delivered so little. This counterintuitive conclusion to their years of "sacrifice" shouldn't surprise them at all, for at some point during their training they inevitably realized an ugly truth about their environment (and by proxy, themselves) that the schooling system itself encouraged them to ignore.

It's truly incredible how the newer generation of software engineers is so relatively unskilled compared to the previous one. It turns out that the limited capabilities of the computers available in the 80s indirectly promoted software design based around pragmatism and simplicity at the cost of counterproductive "user friendliness". The initial effort required to progress beyond the casual tier of programming skill, was much better spent learning to code the most trivial of software on a Commodore64 than it is doing anything most college courses would have you do. These two paths have wildly different destinations, despite their superficial similarities he who understands an assembly language has nowhere to move but forward while he who understands a scripting language has skipped through many essential, core concepts. A terrible tradeoff considering the long term implications.

This ties to the newfound problem of wasting digital resources. With every leap in computational performance came a wider margin of error that eventually expanded into a pair of metaphorical training wheels that have today become an engineering standard. After all, why bother with the (slightly) slower, more methodical ways of the past when modern solutions like javascript cut away so much abstraction?

Even The highest tiers of programming jobs are disproportionately managed by the clueless with relative success, unaware of how Moore's law acted as a safeguard for their terrible design decisions all along and instead praising whatever corporate buzzword they were told to repeat to their team as the answer to their woes. All while ignoring the flaws in their ways that have caused the overall quality of AAA software to fall to hilarious lows.

20 billion dollar software company quality (source: @colincornaby)

Our lack of real standards have paved the way for incompetence in the name of "tolerance", we have become obsessed with what's trendy for the worst reasons, we've grown to accept nepotism as the arbiter of our professional hierarchies. It's not just programming culture that has been twisted into a cult of fools by the terribly assessed needs of the market. Every step forward gets overshadowed by the three steps back our tainted ways tax us, we are no longer subject to cold rationality but rather parasitic ideologies. As the coronavirus pandemic reaches its apex, how longer will we be able to keep this charade up?