Have you ever wondered why software companies are able to crank out so many innovative products while also creating cultures where people really want to come to work?
I think it’s because of the compiler.
Unlike in other professions, a programmer’s workday includes mandatory down-time. After writing a batch of code, programmers have to take a break while the computer compiles–translates their work from human readable language to machine readable language. Without this step, the program won’t run.
While the computer does its work, programmers are not expected to feign busyness. They are allowed, even encouraged, to slack off until the computer finishes. Thus, when they return to work, not only has the computer had time to compile, but so has the programmer.
The rest of us also write code for a very specialized computer everyday: our brains. But unlike computer programmers, we don’t have mandatory compiling opportunities built into our day; we need to create them. Continue reading