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Shalaw Fatah
Shalaw Fatah

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We have to talk about Dev

Rando: I've come to you to see my future.
Fortune teller: You'll be poor for three years.
Rando: And after that?
Fortune teller: You'll get used to it.

It's difficult to be a programmer, even more so to be a good one. Programming, Web Dev in my case, is a game of chess. You pass one good step with much thought and dedication, and a more difficult one appears in the form of a new technology or an old one that you missed.

In an effort to pay the bills, you learn HTML, CSS, and JS pretty fast. That means nothing without learning TypeScript and a framework like React or Express. You suddenly realize that A11y is your blind spot, and you don't know what clean code, polymorphism, and Jira are. Remember the code you are using is from four years ago, and you have to learn things anew as you try to find a job. Your interview did not go through. Better luck next time.

With each rejection, you grow more pessimistic. You still go on knowing it's just your first job. Once you establish yourself with some years of experience, the world will be your oyster. As you are laid off after five years of experience, it's almost entirely the same as when you began, given the economic climate. Oh, and I still don't know what an oyster is. I know it's a sea shell thing, but I'm pretty sure you could confuse me with any shell found on a beach. By now, not much passion to enjoy has remained any way.

While working, you learn new things every day, and the human mind is just not built for such pressure. You grow dim and gloomy. People will tend to direct you to the bright end of the tunnel, but you can't see any tunnel; it's all pitch dark, and you were born in a tomb. In an effort to lessen your pain, you have to learn an entirely new technology, say a recommender engine. You have eight hands and two more brains since you started, but no time to learn anything that radical. It's mind-bending, and you swear that everyone wants just to get rid of you, knowing full well that no one even notices you except for your assignments.

You talk with your manager, and he relieves you from overthinking. What he wanted was to use a website that provides recommender engines as SaaS. A blessing appears with a curse. While your task becomes much easier, you know you failed it by not researching the subject and suggesting the best option. Your manager looks at you for a while, trying to figure out if you've lost your mind, thinking you have the infrastructure for implementing your own AI engine. You give the vibe that you've also noticed that you've recently lost it. Who cares; do your duty.

You go through life, and suddenly you have a wealth of experience in the field. Alas, when you come back in the evening, you can hardly eat. You can rarely talk to anyone, not even knowing how to be close to someone. You get an AI mate, and you realize with every move, you think about the logic and library behind her speech and moves.

It's a living hell, and you don't even realize it. By now, you are so used to sticking to your computer; it's part of your life. The life which other people experience (spoiler alert, not that great either) makes no sense to you. You've grown used to it.

While meditating on your life, the news of an AI programmer wrecks your world. What should I do? I have no other skills, and by now, I can hardly look people in the eye. My mental well-being is seriously challenged. It's not well-being at all; it's a slave-like adaptation.

You think about your future, and nothing makes sense. By now, you are a robot, a slave relieved from the burden of choice and passion. It's good too, as you'd make such rash and faulty decisions otherwise that you wouldn't bear to live a couple of years if it weren't so.

You think of one of these new drugs, copeium for instance, but the voice of the cattle in your head is the only remedy to your malaise. You think of a future where you have some chickens, some cows, goats, and sheep around your cottage, with lines of veggies and wheat all around. It's a bliss for a minute, and the sound of the alarm wakes you up. No lines except for frown lines on your forehead. You have to do your routine. Wake up and wash your face, and you could literally do anything except for thinking until the sunlight hits your face; otherwise, you'd be suicidal.
All this just to pay your bills, and oh yes, so others can look at your as a wizard, while you know how miserable you are, both literally and professionally.
We have to talk about programming. It's one of those professions that the more you get into it, the more you are lost. While such jobs at least pay well, programming no longer does. While other jobs are prestigious, programming no longer is. You are the same wage-slave that anyone else is. Do your duty.
We still have to seriously talk about it. We need an Abraham-like figure to get us out of this misery, to destroy these idols and lead us into a brighter future. It's not worth to win everything but lose your mind. Is it capitalism? Is it neoliberalism? Is it communism? What is the root cause that makes everyone, including us, suffer? I was in the process of these nonesensical thoughts when I heard a voice, it was my manager, with the voice of a battle-hardened colonel, he said,
"Do your duty!"

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