It’s hard not to be fascinated by computers. They’re overwhelmingly powerful. It’s humbling knowing that if I can conjure up some ridiculous idea in my head, I can probably turn it into a computer program. There aren’t many professions out there that give you such freedom. In fact, most professions require an enormous amount of man-power, machinery, and/or cashflow in order to turn an idea into reality.
Engineering happens to be one such profession. Most engineers don’t have the means to create their very own Trump Tower or even a car for that matter. There is generally too much overhead for creating all of the required parts to make a functional object beyond your average tinker toy. Sure you can get a grant or build a small scale prototype to try and lure in some investors, but that’s not enough to satisfy me.
Surgeons and doctors get to do some interesting work, but their hands on research is in the office. Sure they’ve got clinical studies and trials, but they can’t just test out a theory by grabbing some pedestrian off the street. That would be both inhumane and illegal. If I want a new patient in programming, I just open up another project. It’s for that reason that programming is unique. It doesn’t set such rigid boundaries as to what I can create. All I need is a computer, a text editor, and a compiler. Any single one of you could be the next Linus Torvalds, Marissa Mayer, Donald Knuth, Leah Culver, Edsger Dijkstra, or Grace Hopper.
There’s nothing stopping you from creating the next big thing. Just look at all the software and websites out there… they all started with a guy, a vision, and some programming skills. These people are not all geniouses, so there is no need to get discouraged. Just look at the recent RockYou Password Breach where they were storing passwords in plaintext. This kind of shit happens everyday, yet sites like these are still a big deal. I’ll leave that for another article regarding the stupidity of the lower echelon of programmers out there. Just kidding. But seriously, don’t store passwords in plaintext.
The point is, you’ve got all of the tools necessary at your disposal. Programming allows you to be as creative as like, giving you the ability to create tools that millions of people might find useful from the comfort of your own home. You can do amazing things in programming. It’s a nice thing to give back to humanity; to leave your mark. Programming allows you to do this and much much more. You can solve an immeasurable number of problems and there is almost always more than one solution. If you value your creativity, programming might just be for you.