Holding a Program in One’s Head

August 24, 2007

Paul Graham is singing my pain. This article is EXACTLY on.

Good programmers manage to get a lot done anyway. But often it requires practically an act of rebellion against the organizations that employ them. Perhaps it will help to understand that the way programmers behave is driven by the demands of the work they do. It’s not because they’re irresponsible that they work in long binges during which they blow off all other obligations, plunge straight into programming instead of writing specs first, and rewrite code that already works. It’s not because they’re unfriendly that they prefer to work alone, or growl at people who pop their head in the door to say hello. This apparently random collection of annoying habits has a single explanation: the power of holding a program in one’s head.”

It isn’t even so much that he gives tips for programmers on HOW this is done, but he explains it so well for those who don’t code at all, who are trying to figure out why their geek friends are such robots. I needed to read this today.