Self in Code

Stephanie Hurlburt‏ offers this reflection on the experience of coding. It rings true to me. twitter


I thought I'd write a few words on how I feel about code, emotions, expression, identity.

Programming to me is a highly emotional act. My code is an extension of me.

I don't like writing code I have to revisit while I'm upset. When I look at code I wrote, I can identify how I was feeling when I wrote it.

If someone hires me to write them code, I can detach a bit, bust whatever they want out even if I'm not happy. I say "Well, that isn't me"

Like an artist hired to make corporate greeting cards to pay the bills. Those cards may not represent who they are. They can put it aside.

I can suppress these emotions about coding. But then my code isnt as good, doesn't have my all. It feels a bit like losing a part of my soul

Feeling emotionally attached to my code and making it part of my identity, feeds my soul, gives more meaning and joy to my life.

Code has constraints, just like all expression does. It has to do something and perform well. But within constraints creativity flourishes!

I see a lot of portrayals of "emotionless programmers" and I've never identified with that. If you don't either, know that you aren't alone.