re: Are interruptions really worse for programmers than for other knowledge workers? VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

I disagree. Well, sort of.

I studied physics in college and did enough research to publish and present a paper. When I was doing physics, I remember there being some moments where I was on the cusp of some great realization that helped me solve a problem, and I didn't want to be interrupted at that point. But most of the time it wasn't like that. My work was always written down and I could deal with an interruption and come back to it with only slight irritation.

When I started programming, literally the most interesting thing I noticed was how many things I had to keep in my mind at the same time in order to do anything with the code. It felt mostly like a new skill to me. It felt like trying to carry too many clothes without a laundry basket. Things kept falling and I had to pick them up again and again.

You're correct for a lot of the things that programmers do. But when it comes to debugging and editing existing code, I've never come across anything that requires keeping so much in the mind at a time. It's not as difficult in general as physics, but it requires a lot more focus for longer stretches of time before something useful can happen.

 

I know that feeling. When I write code my goal is for the code to rqeuire as little time and mental effort as possible in order to understand it. Tough I assume most programmers would say the same, I think we often accept code that is much more complicated than it needs to be.

Complexity does of course also depend on the problem you are solving with the code, but still.

 

"It felt like trying to carry too many clothes without a laundry basket. Things kept falling and I had to pick them up again and again."

THAT.

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