THE CODE ISSUE 10

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Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the special double issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on computer coding. This one speaks to us of the quirks and culture of the coding world. These introduce their own challenges that threaten to defeat the team unless the team can conquer them (Paul Ford, “The Code Issue”, 6/15/15–6/28/15, p. 58):

It sometimes appears that everyone in coding has a beef. You can feel it coming off the Web pages. There are a lot of defensive postscripts added in response to outrage. ‘People have reacted strongly to this post,’ they’ll read. ‘I did not mean to imply that Java sucks.’

Languages have agendas. People glom onto them. Blunt talk is seen as a good quality in a developer, a sign of an ‘engineering mindset’—spit out every opinion as quickly as possible, the sooner to reach a technical consensus. Expect to be told you’re wrong; expect to tell other people they’re wrong. (Masculine anger, bluntly expressed, is part of the industry.)

Coding is a culture of blurters. This can yield fast decisions, but it penalizes people who need to quietly compose their thoughts, rewarding fast-twitch thinkers who harrumph efficiently. Programmer job interviews, which often include abstract and meaningless questions that must be answered immediately on a whiteboard, typify this culture. Regular meetings can become sniping matches about things that don’t matter. The shorthand term for that is ‘bikeshedding.’ (Who cares what color the bike shed is painted? Well . . . )





About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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