Is Coding – or Anything – Serious Business?

Is Coding – or Anything – Serious Business?

A few months ago I found this article. It delves into the misconceptions our culture has formed about coding; that it’s not something light and “fun” but rather a brutally complex job that requires utmost, serious attention.

Well la-dee-da.

I really ought not to be this caustic. The article does make good points. I’m not a web developer but it’s not a stretch to see how much attention to detail is required to excel in the field. The only point I’m trying to make is that you don’t need to be wound up so tightly to do it. In fact it might behoove you to do the opposite.

It’s been proven that most of us perform better at work while in a relaxed state of mind. Although this idea is becoming more widely recognized in the workplace it can still be hard to practice. This is because the notion that being at ease equates to slacking off is still omnipresent. In reality, being able to mellow out can increase creativity and productivity and allow you to walk into the office without a sense of dread. How wicked is that?!

Anyhoo, I believe what we actually mean by “treat your job seriously,” is “care about your job.” Somewhere along the way we began associating the two, which is apparent in the coding article, especially where it talks about society’s “inability” to properly prepare children for the field:

“Insisting on the glamour and fun of coding is the wrong way to acquaint kids with computer science. It insults their intelligence and plants the pernicious notion in their heads that you don’t need discipline in order to progress.”

Well, of course you need discipline! But must you have a furrowed brow while exhibiting this trait? I don’t think so; plus you’d be awfully uncomfortable after a while. I do agree with the author in that children should be made aware of everything involved in programming so they understand how much dedication and skill are needed to excel. On the other hand, making it sound like a job only within reach of the most elite intellectuals might frighten them away before they even give it a shot. Is that desirable?

So to go back to the titular question, no, coding doesn’t have to be deadpan-serious – unless you want it to be. However, it should still be highly regarded and undertaken with the proper skill-set, regardless of mindset.

Hmm, I don’t think I have much else to add. Well, perhaps one thing: if the mindset described in the piece works for you, kudos. Keep being your awesome self and put your nose to the grindstone. However, if you’re more like me and find yourself getting stressed at the idea of regarding your job as remarkably difficult, that’s okay too. There are always different ways to go about a task, whether that’s computer programming or inspecting people’s nostrils. So, as long as it’s respectful and allows you to get the job done well, approach your occupation however you wish to.

Greg Plante
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