Why Do We Care What's Special About Programming?

posted Apr 09, 2007
in Programming

This entry is part of the BlogBook called "Programming Wisdom".

The first step to attaining wisdom is to understand why special "programming wisdom" is needed in the first place.

It's easy to get the idea that software is easy to create, because it is partially true. Computers get more powerful every year, and we trade in on that power to make programming easier. Every year results in more and better libraries. Changing software is very easy, and it's relatively easy to test compared to an equivalently-complex real-world object. J. Random User can write an Excel macro with a reasonable amount of effort that saves him a lot of time, and early programmers can become excited about what amazing things they can do just by assembling existing libraries and frameworks together which makes everything seem so easy.

This rosy picture is brought to you by confirmation bias, paying attention only to the uniquely easy characteristics and ignoring the things that make it uniquely challenging. Poke past the surface and you find a strange, complicated, chaotic beast. Learning to tame the power requires a lot of experience and wisdom.


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