I’m not sure when, why or how programming became so glamorous and cool, but I don’t like it. I guess movies like “The Social Network” are partly to blame for this, which depicts a tale of the less than 1% of programmers who become extremely rich, famous and successful, practically overnight. The truth is a large majority of us are obscure indie developers, working on something most people probably have never heard of before, and although many programmers are moderately successful in terms of job security and pay, most of us will retire virtually unknown to the public.
Watching how movies depict programmers is exciting to watch when you’re not a programmer, but if you are one, these movies make you depressed. Watching something that most of us will likely never experience in our lifetime is a huge burden to carry. When you talk with others about your job, they relate what you do to what they see in the movies, but that’s of course not reality.
This is even more true if you work at a startup. Startups are hard enough as it is, and when you add to it shows like Bravo’s “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley,” it seem like our job is all partying and no work. How do you explain what you do for a living to others, without feeling like a total slacker with these TV shows and Movies polluting reality? You mean, you didn’t create a product that millions of people use everyday in less than 3 months time and have time to party it up every night of the week (i.e. Next week on “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley.”)?
In my view, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be a programmer. The programming challenges remain the same (or harder), but the public perception of the job is becoming harder to deal with, which I think is even worse.