Encoded For Security

I code. I'm a coder. I have coded. Up until yesterday this would not be true. I spent 3 hours yesterday writing a 10 line Perl script to do a job that manually would have taken me about 30 minutes. It was a fun challenge, but I could not imagine doing it for a living.

I get paid to be a network engineer. This means that I spend 60% of my time with hardware, 40% of my time with software, and 0% of my time writing code. Code scares me. Coders scare me too.

They can spend 10 hours each day about 3 inches away from a computer monitor for close to 3 months. Their co-workers pass by their cube to hear only the constant clicking of keys, rifling of paper and the incoherent mutterings and tortured moans of defeat. In the end after twenty-seven management revisions and user upgrades they barely squeak their program out with two days before the deadline.

It's not until after coding is complete when debugging begins. Now the pale cave dwelling coder must try to fix all the problems in their code. Because to produce a product that is free of bugs is an impossibility. They know this. So no matter how hard the devoted code masher tries, they will fail. Not can fail or might fail, will fail. I mean really, is that any way to live?!

In addition to that they must devote a huge amount of free time on staying current with this bizarre language that they speak. That's right, it changes and pretty frequently. Could you imagine that holding true with any other language?

So you spent three years in college learning French. You speak it very well, and use it everyday. Well guess what, the French have just released French 2.0. That's right, the sentence structure is completely changed around and even a number of words have been revised. They keep saying it's new, improved and works better than French 1.9, but you have yet to see any real benefit. It's not like you have any option though, everyone else is now using French 2.0 so you'll have to learn the new version.

What you called the restroom in French 1.9 is now the word for apple. In fact there is no word for restroom any more, you now have to say "The room where the bath is". If you don't like it, don't worry they'll probably change it again with the next release due out in 6 months!

This is what a coder goes through every few years. No thanks. The principles of networking were established close to 40 years ago, and while speed and the medium changes every few years, the concept of networking is the same as it was in the 70's. So when I say I code, I don't mean to say I'm looking for a career change.

No sir, I'd rather do it at my leisure than have it a requirement for living.


Tony from Finland said...

Back in school, I broke two grip strength exercisers trying to learn C++. Even got my teacher - who knew full well how behind schedule I was with my work - once to very politely suggest that it might be time to consider calling it a night.

Sometimes, when my tech support job starts to aggravate me, I think to myself: "Well, at least I'm not a security guard anymore, things could be a lot worse." If I ever get fired and have to resort to security work again to make a living, I'll probably be telling myself: "Well, at least I'm not a coder. Things could be a lot worse."

(Actually, it would be pretty neat to be able to code for a living - working from home would sure beat the daily traffic jams! But it just is not something my feeble brain could handle.)

Ando said...

At my old job I was the annoying user who was assigned to always bug the coders with things they needed to fix in our proprietary software. I think they still liked me, they always seemed to be smiling, but that could have just been the setting in of dementia.

Fernando said...

I code. I'm a coder. I have coded. That has been true for me for about 3 or 4 years now...

It could always be worse!

SJ said...

I am like Ando - I am the one bugging someone to fix the bugs - - - sorry about that

Jason said...

I am Jason.

I am not a coder, but I look at bugs.

Lots of bugs.

More specifically, the early instars of aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates.

No codes are involved.

If there was a pantheon of deities to worship and sacrifice baby sheep to, I might be inclined to do so.

Fortunately there is not.

kludge said...


I agree it takes a different mindset. I want to know it, but I'm not willing to put in the time required to learn it.

Yeah, I would love a job where I could telecommute...

kludge said...


You'll know if they don't like you. A short script written to siphon funds off your account in the payroll database.

kludge said...


I'm impressed. It honestly took me 3 hours to figure out how to get Perl to reference my hash. It's always defeating when it's over and you you say, "It looks so obvious now."

kludge said...


Without the users, we all would be unemployed. Bug away.

kludge said...



I'm not even sure where to start. Maybe I should just leave this one alone...

...yes, that would be best.

jenylu said...

I loved the learning French 2.0analogy! I have a whole new respect for those who code, are coders, or have coded.