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Programmers Main Motivation


  If you lack social skills, you are more likely to become programmer than not.  People tend to develop  and master the skills where they are able to respond to the feedback given to them.  Computer programming is like instant feedback. They get satisfaction and create a small world to make them happy.  Once they are happy for the moment they don't need to consider the outside world. The joy is in response given to the feedback they have received.
  On other other hand  in society the social interactions are necessary. In order to enjoy society, you also need to give response to the feedback you have received. And that is where you find the joy. ex.. Mother  gets satisfaction by feeding  baby when baby cries. People feel content while helping others or taking revenge for that matter.  (Seemingly opposite, it's the same process).
  Programmers are programmers and are nerd because they cannot do Much about social feedback. So they divert their energy to the item where they are able to do something about the feedback such as compiler error or logical error.  They feel happy when they solve it.

So the Joy is about the matters which  one has internal genes to respond automatically rather than one chooses to repsonse. Painful choices are nothing but chosen repsonse which doesn't give you joy. For an average programmer it translate to socialize and person would rather be sitting at computer terminal than go and shake hands with society.

Take it easy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Webster - 1. a thrilling or exciting experience 2. something from which one derives pleasure. - a misspelled word.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

>If you lack social skills, you are more likely
>to become programmer than not


Here's the thing:  People aren't rational. 

You can't figure them out.

Computers, on the other hand, are  -CONSISTENT-

I got into computers, to a great degree, because I couldn't figure out people.

That taught me things like logical reasoning, deduction, induction, discrete math, and systems thinking.

Now, as an adult, I "get" people (and, more specifically, projects) because I can actually get a handle at what is really going on.

Irrationality really gets to me.  Check out "Quality Software Management" by Weinberg sometime if you want a good discussion of irrational behavior and how to deflect or avoid it. 

Basically, a big part I took from it:  When people get irrational, you need to figure out what the real fear is an address it - or walk away, and try again when they are more calm.  Should the person be truely dysfunctional in a role that's key, you may need to take more drastic measures.

Matt H.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

There might be some truth in your theory, but it would apply to all the occupations that involve working alone. Most creative or intellectual occupations require a lot of time alone. Even if the job involves working with others, a lot of time must be spent reading and thinking, if intellectual creativity is required.
My job is not social enough for me, because I don't like to spend all my time working alone. I chose this career in spite of, not because of, lack of social interaction. If I had been a scientist or artist instead, it would not have been that different. Of course scientists also teach and go to conferences, so their jobs are more social than ours.
I would like to add more social interaction to my job, by communicating more with users, for example. I'm sure this would be ok with management, and I have already started doing it during my last project.

The Real PC
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

"Computers, on the other hand, are  -CONSISTENT"

'Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.'

-Isaac Asimov-

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

You've got it round the wrong way, easy. Developing non-trivial software is difficult, requiring a lot of time, and the people who master this tend to be people who don't have a lot of other distractions.

Also, the old saw that scientists and engineers prefer working with things rather than people because things are black and white, and thus simpler, is just not true. Science and technology require that tricky problems be worked out in their entirety, whereas human interactions tolerate rough approximations.

You've got to remember that most popular myths are created by people who aren't scientists and technologists.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

While it sounds like a troll, I would agree that it has some validity.  However, as someone pointed out any work requiring very detailed work would appear to be filled by people lacking social skills.  When was the last time you saw a real "socially active " neurosurgeon? 

Appearances are deceiving.  I would agree that programmers as a "group" appear less social than say "waiters."  However, the rewards for certain behavior are different.  A waiter lacking in social grace is not going far.  And there is the rub, neither is a programmer.

If you wish to remain at the lower level of the development cycle or the academic niche, you can have moderate social skills.  However, if you wish to be well compensated, and successful social skills are a requirement.  While we all read with amusement the BOFH , we also recognize that being one is a very career limiting position.  Early in the computer development cycle, you could be the "sandals and pigtail" expert who was revered for your knowledge. 

Today, your inability to explain the technology in useful business language is seen a social fault.  Your inability to effectively discuss how something works or should be done such that most people can understand it, defines you.  People lacking those communications/social skills mistake elitist for intelligent.  Other people do not and that limits the programmers growth.

As for the main motivation, I would agree with the instant and perhaps consistent feedback.  The irony in the consistency is that programming is like painting, we can all see it is a bowl of fruit, but how we rendered it is very different, yet we all ended up with the same result in the end.  How much it is liked by both the viewer and other artists is extremely subjective, and determines whether you will flourish or be a starving artist.

Mike Gamerland
Tuesday, April 22, 2003


All to often when I see people talking about these social skills, they are talking about the empty variety employed by successful salespersons or polititians.

You know the type - firm handshake, too much eye contact, obviously assessing what benefit can be gained from you.

I don't think the number of programmers are any less capable of being good friends / husbands / parents than anybody else.  They are no less compassionate or caring.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

---"Computers, on the other hand, are  -CONSISTENT-"------

None of the ones I've ever worked with have been!

---"if you want a good discussion of irrational behavior and how to deflect or avoid it.  "----

I always thought the simple rule was never to read anything posted on the computer geek forums.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I agree, that most programmers I know are introverts, and are perfectly content to be left alone for a saturday night to eat pizza, drink soda and beer, and hack away on their pet projects.  On the other hand, I get together all the time with a ton of my friends who are all in the tech industry, we probably get out more then most people our age.  To say that most software professionals, or even computer nerds, are not social, is to take a small population of us and apply stereotypes to the entire group.

Vincent Marquez
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Here's an oddity. I'm an introvert and I've always enjoyed *building* things, fixing things, and making things work.  Yet I've gotten very tired at different times of absolute isolation.

As I've become more socially adept (inept? :-) ) late in life I've noticed a proportionate increase in my dissatisfaction with a steady diet of coding and other technical work conducted solo. However, I've also steadily increased in technical competency and knowledge in later years. So, while I don't want to do the work and nothing but the work to the same extent that I did when I was much younger, I know for a fact that I can do a lot more because, frankly, I'm one hell of a lot *better* than I was, say, 5, 10 or 15 years ago.

The desire to socalize "interferes" to an extent with technical work. However, before I was more socially inclined I burnt out more quickly.

I think everyone needs a balanced life with some social influences, and some personal achievement conducted with no outside influences. The proportion of the two varies with some people, but what is best for each of us probably lies somewhere closer to the middle of the spectrum than most of us would consciously choose.
IE: A coder/hacker purist looking at me would say or think I was a "slacker" and would probably feel they were more dedicated and virtuous, perhaps.  I've gotten that rap, generally from people envious about my rate of pay and/or my work who wonder how I do it. However, I would counter that they are probably starved for attention, recognition, or affirmation of their person, and they are too technically overfocused  and, frankly, clueless, to know themselves very well. Which reflects in poorer performance, even though they "feel" that they work harder.

(Gee, did I really say a damned thing that made any sense?...:-) )

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Yes Bored, I think you make sense.
I used to think I had to spend all my time either coding or studying, because there is always so much I don't know. In the past couple of years I decided that I learn enough while at work and I no longer feel guilty spending time on other things.
It's all much easier for me now and if I don't know something I just look it up. So I more or less stopped studying. Not that I never will again, but not the way I used to.

The Real PC
Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I'm in it for the Chicks!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

I can do it all by myself with inexpensive equipment.

fool for python
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Yeah, but on that basis you could also be a prostitute. There must be more to it.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

All Programmers are not introverts - in fact the numbers are reducing rapidly.
Work is fun when it is done as a team and
being an introvert is certainly not going to help anyone - pity the poor project manager.
True that when figuring out something we tend to shut out everything but at the end of the day - we bounce back to reality !!!

Saturday, May 10, 2003

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