things you should never say to a programmer

7 things you should never say to a programmer

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Programmers are a special breed. They can induce deep sleep in their dinner party companions by saying things like this, ‘So I was trying to debug this gnarly crash in the serialization library code, and after I added whole bunch of printf’s I grok’ed the sources and it was using a global buffer without any kind of locking, so *obviously* it was never going to be thread-safe,’ states Richard Cownie, on Quora. They may sometimes be boring, but they’re also immensely powerful, able to turn an idea into a computer program or app that revolutionises the world. In order to better understand their powerful thought process day-to-day, it’s important to consider what questions are suitable or relevant to ask a programmer. So here are some things you should never say to a programmer.


  1. ‘Can you explain your code?’

If you’re not a programmer, then ‘no’, that’s not possible. If you’re not aware of the concepts of programming, then you just won’t get it. However, if you’re interested in learning a little bit about programming in order to see if it’s the right field for you, consider signing up for a HyperionDev free trial in Full Stack Web Development, Mobile Development or Software Engineering.


  1. ‘Can women code?’

You wouldn’t say that, right? Course not. Techworm notes that the first computer programmer in the world is thought to be Ada Lovelace – she published an algorithm to be processed on the first modern computer. Read about more famous female programmers here.


  1. ‘My laptop isn’t working. Can you fix it?’

Programming, or coding as it’s sometimes called, is the process of creating software. Software is really a set of instructions that a computer needs to follow. Computer programming is a little like writing a recipe for your computer. Software comes in many forms, from games to apps on your phone, but all software is made up of lines of code. The hardware of the machine, including the CPU, keyboard and mouse, are totally different. Although some programmers may well have picked up knowledge about the tangible components of a PC, it’s unrealistic to expect all programmers to know computer hardware and to be able to repair machines.


  1. Can you teach me programming?’

Many people are keen to enter the exciting world of programming, because salaries are high and jobs are in demand. However, it’s not a skill you can pick up overnight. It’s therefore unrealistic to expect a programmer to get you up to speed.

When it comes to learning coding, the good news is that you can teach yourself. Says 2018’s Stack Overflow Developer Report, ‘(A)lmost 90% of all developers say they have taught themselves a new language, framework or tool outside of their formal education.’ However, if you’re keen not to waste time and you want someone to be around to help you when you get stuck, consider a mentor-led bootcamp instead.


  1. ‘Maybe you should leave your computer alone – it’s the weekend.’

The Stack Overflow Developer Report states that over 80% of developers code as a hobby. Interestingly, those who are parents or have other caretaking responsibilities, those who exercise daily, or those who spend the most time outside were somewhat more likely to code as a hobby than other developer profiles.


  1. Don’t you get bored sitting in front of a computer all day?’

Tech work can be incredibly varied. The 50 Best Jobs in America report, published by Glassdoor, found that 40% of these ‘best jobs’ are in tech. The report looked at factors such as salary, job demand and job satisfaction. Of those jobs in tech, many of them involve training, marketing, dealing with people or organisational skills.

Think about a front-end engineer, job #5 in tech, who well definitely use code but will also deal with a wide variety of people from customers to content writers. Every company uses tech and needs tech-savvy people in their workplace.


  1. Why isn’t the Internet working?’

Similarly to point #3 above, just because someone can make beautiful websites or awesome software, it doesn’t mean that he or she can get the router working again. Tech is a massive field; there are many specialities in it. Think of medicine. You wouldn’t ask your dermatologist for something to help you with anxiety.

We’ve mentioned 7 things you should never say to a programmer. Can you think of any more you’d like to add? If you’re keen to become a programmer, HyperionDev offers online coding bootcamps in Full Stack Web Development, Mobile Development and Software Engineering. You’ll get your own personalised mentor to help you whenever you get stuck.