Long Term Effects Of Programming

Every job influences the viewpoint of its practitioners. Working with code for a long time has impacted the way I view the world. I've seen similar attitudes in others too.

Can you give an example?

Programmers prefer consistent patterns.

In code, an exception to a rule is a bad thing. It should be fixed, or at least commented.

As a result, the inconsistency in the following list tends to be more noticeable:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Dark Green
  • Blue

Isn't that true in many mathematical professions?

This is a habit that develops after repeated debugging sessions (hassle!) as a result of inconsistencies.

Another example is sensitivity to ambiguity. I've found experienced programmers (including myself) notice sentences with multiple interpretations.

"He's had three items... so this is his third replacement."

Logically, three items means only two replacements (a 'fence post error'). This mathematical imprecision is totally OK in casual conversation, but I can't help but notice it.