Population Upheaval and Learning to Code

Recorded human history goes back four to six thousand years. Our species evolved into it’s current form much further back, around two hundred thousand years ago. In all that span of time, there have been innumerable upheavals and change. Floods, fires, invasions and disease pushed and pulled populations across the world and forced them to adapt or die.

And yet despite many of these upheavals, for a long time, generation after generation lived much like their ancestors did. Across the plains of North America, people hunted buffalo and used their remains to supply their material and nutrition needs. In East Asia, people have planted rice fields and flooded to reduce weeds for over ten thousand years. This continuity has meant that the people who have been around the longest are the most knowledgable. They’ve seen a season without rain and know what to do, or they learned from the elders before them how to deal with a locust invasion. In consequence, most cultures have esteemed the elders in their communities, and used them as source of wise council.

In contrast, in software development, the ‘wise elder’ might be someone who started at twelve, has ten years experience, and is now just old enough to drink. As someone who is coming into the field a little later in life, I’m going to have to learn to accept that people younger than me are going to know more and be better than me. Two months ago I would have said this would be easy. Now I’m learning that it’s more of a challenge than expected.

Since this is no doubt how the workplace is going to be, it’s good that I’m getting the experience now. Humans can adapt to anything, and with time, I too can get used to getting intellectually beat up by people who weren’t born when September 11th happened.

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