I didn’t go to school to be a software developer. In fact, I started my undergrad degree as a mechanical engineering major with grand plans to work on the fuselages of tomorrow’s aircraft. When I fell out of love with the major, I was two years deep into school and didn’t want another four. I’d grown up around computers and loved using them, so I figured I’d work with computers in some capacity. My (mis)conception of computer science was having my ankle chained to a desk while I wrote lines of code for long hours and never saw another person during daylight. So I chose “information systems” for my plan B.

Somehow, because of one semester’s database class, I landed an internship as a PL/SQL developer at a state agency during my last year of school. The internship led to my first job as, again, a PL/SQL developer. Now this was hardly real software development. Writing and fixing a few stored procedures and performing a schload of ad hoc queries doesn’t really count, in my book. I learned a lot, and worked with a bunch of good folks, and I even tried to see if software was something I could get in to recreationally. After the 3rd try at Ruby on Rails, I was done. Zero motivation.

A few years ago I switched jobs because I realized that I couldn’t take being even a watered-down software developer. It’s not because I couldn’t handle the work. But my apathy for that side of software certainly affected the quality of my work. I changed gears and took a job as a “business analyst” – a vague, super-business-y term that means “I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS”.

You see, I still love software. I love finding and learning to use new programs. I don’t have automatic updates enabled on any of my platforms because I like to read the release notes and manually manage the installation process. I always RTFM because I like to know what an app can do. Even working for a software consultancy, I often find my self helping my coworkers with keyboard shortcuts and obscure menu items.

I don’t want to assemble the software, but because I love it and use it all the time, I sure do want to help make it better, and help make it easier for everybody else to use.

One thought on “Softweird

  1. That sounds exactly like the kind of job where I would excel. I need a change of scenery.

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