Non-developer in the coding world — part 1

Hello, this is Mary from Annot. I am a non-developer currently working with a bunch of developers. They are very skilled and amazing people, of course, yet interesting to work with. Now, we cannot neglect the fact that I might be the actual issue for the hardships I’ve encountered when working with them, however, this series will be written based on my point of view and experience.

I guess, before I present you the main dish, I should give you a brief background about myself and my knowledge level of computer programming and engineering. I am a marketer with no engineering background whatsoever working in a team that is developing a web-based service, and when I say “none whatsoever” it means literally 0%. For example, I’ve seen my co-workers use “==” this a lot while coding. To me, it seems like they were trying to type an emoticon but pressed the wrong key or missed a key. Honestly, I still don’t know what this means. I also don’t understand why they need three monitors. I used to think they had them just to look professional, but now, I’m just guessing that they must have a reason. I didn’t know what coding was (I doubt I do now) until I joined this team. All my life, I’ve been more involved in art and literature than engineering and programming. You ask how I got here? YOU tell ME. I wish I knew too!

I believe now you have a rough picture of my working environment. It’s become a bit easier now compared to when I first joined the team. I had to find ways to interpret what developers really mean when they say certain things, to train myself to explain things logically when talking to them, etc. Through these self-taught lessons, I noticed three characteristics in developers in our team: developers are somewhat like machines; developers speak a different language; developers are not very interested in the food, clothing, and shelter. Today, I will talk about the first point: developers are somewhat like machines.

My co-worker Mr. A working on his coding

Developers are somewhat like machines. Developers are great people, really. They are very intellectual, logical and passionate about their work. I totally admire this fact about them. In addition to this, they tend to have an unbending will of what they believe. This makes them an unbeatable pride of lions ready to devour any prey at sight. Of course, non-developers like myself can do logic as well, but we tend to embrace creativity, spontaneousness, and other elements as well. Developers don’t. There needs to be a LOGICAL reason, process and result to every thing just like machines. For example, non-developers who have been influenced by art like me can accept 1 + 1 = a window as an answer; for developers, 1 + 1 = 2 and nothing else. There is no other possibility. Now, can you imagine what happens when equations get more complex?

The good thing about this characteristic is that if you give them a LOGICAL reason about a certain issue, they will come back with excellent results. But finding the perfect logic of that certain issue is very difficult to achieve because you need to speak that logic in their language for them to understand it perfectly. I’ll talk about this point on the next series.

My other co-worker Mr. G doing his job

Also, just like machines are generally made for specialized tasks, developers are specialized in one single thing: coding. They are the experts in coding. No matter how many times they explain a code to me, I don’t understand what it is and how it works, AND I truly doubt I ever will. Because of this characteristic, they are very friendly to computers. They love computers. They are in a love and hate relationship with computers and coding itself. They love and hate the challenge they get when something isn’t working correctly. They also pour their whole attention to it. As a result, they are not so good with people just like machines are not so gentle with people. Let’s just say that they are not so good at interacting with people because people have emotions and can think for themselves unlike computers. This causes problems. It causes a lot of problems. I’ll continue talking about this in my next blog entry.

So today, I talked about how developers are like machines. Trust me, this is only a speck of what developers in our team are like. I just want to add that it is quite fun and interesting to work with them because I sense them as a different species. I am sure that as long as I work in this team, I’ll learn more interesting things about them.

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