Am I a “real” Software Engineer yet?
Sun-Li Beatteay

I’m a full-stack software engineer specializing in Java, Python, and the web stack (Node, HTML, CSS, Javascript). I have 3 years of professional experience, and 5 total years of development. It’s daily for me to work in core Java applications, Java Spring web apps, Python scripts for infrastructure setup (also implemented solutions using deep learning networks), and then jump over to a backend Node.js back-end app and fledge out a dumpster of widgets and gizmos in a React web app. I do not have a degree, I dropped out and became the sole programmer for a research project at a genetics laboratory (for which I am now the first author of the paper that is being written), and now I work on programs used globally at a company that is recognized worldwide for innovative technology in agriculture. AND EVEN STILL, I feel the syndrome every fricking day.

One of the biggest reasons I feel this is the programming community of C++. Since about a week ago, I’ve been on a quest to learn the famous language and build usable programs with it. But every time I search online, I always find snarky comments from “real software engineers” saying that the languages I specialize in are too easy and don’t earn me the title of a software engineer. That C++ is better to learn because you have to deal with so much. In addition, I’ve found that the tutorials, StackOverflow questions/answers, and the general community, is full of half-answered questions, lazy explanations that use all the acronyms and jargon of a seasoned veteran, and worshipers that just want to tell you “why it’s great” but not specifically “how it’s great and how to use it”.

Well, you know what I say to all of that? F**k you and f**k you precious programming language. I’m an engineer. Engineers are LAZY and we build SOLUTIONS. And in order to build solutions, I use TOOLS that I can figure out how to use in a timely manner, don’t have to be CLEANED and optimized constantly, and that meet the demands of the customer. I’d take Python over C++ any day because the customer f**king loves it. Until I need to use C++ for a serious performance problem, I won’t be learning the nitty-gritty. And even then, I’d probably end up just optimizing a Python app with Cython.

To conclude, you, my friend, are a real software engineer. You build solutions just like I do. And if anyone ever tells you differently, you do not owe them an explanation. All you owe them is a big F**K YOU.