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Coding -- Art Become Drudgery

A recent post at The Reinvigorated Programmer blog titled "Whatever happened to programming?" stirred up a hornet's nest of comments on Slashdot, Reddit and other sites. Mike Taylor lamented the days of yore when he was writing games in BASIC and C and experimenting and creating and having fun.

"That was then," he said. "Today, I mostly paste libraries together.  So do you, most likely, if you work in software.  Doesn't that seem anticlimactic?"

I'm not in the biz, per se, but it does seem programming has lost something in these days of commoditized offshore code factories, rigid regimentation and plug-and-play developers populating dreary cubicle farms.

Where is the élan, the elegance, the art? Where are the brilliant mavericks, the rock stars?

I've often wondered if most programmers felt the same way. Looking at the hundreds of comments, there were of course many in agreement, such as this:

"I couldn't agree more. Writing software is not fun anymore, it's a job. The type of job that is occupied by people who don't even like computers, they're 9 to 5 programmers."

But a surprising number take task with Taylor, saying their jobs are creative and rewarding. Here's an example:

"I've found myself taking great pleasure from some of the higher level stuff I've done over the last 11-ish years as a pro."

Many posters suggested turning to open-source projects to regain whatever has been lost.

What about database-oriented programmers? Is that niche even more lacking in lustre? How do you feel about the state of the art in general or your job in particular? Comment here or send me an e-mail.

Posted by David Ramel on 03/10/2010

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