Did it happen in one day? (NOPE)
Came a long way? (YUP)
The dozen or so in the class hit the ground running last January. Armed with basic prerequisites of mathematics we’d embarked on a highly technical journey. We received the same spiel about the honor code and a promise that “each successive stage will be harder.”
There wasn’t much of a honeymoon phase. Unlike health professions there wasn’t a we’re-in-this-together moment from day one. We simply met the requirements and registered for the program. The solo journey seemed much less exciting, which begged the question: when the going gets tough, who in the proverbial stands will cheer me on? It just seems that extra motivation can never be in short supply for us students in law, medicine, or engineering:
A project and a teacher’s reminder…
There’s definite intrigue about a software industry that spawned a few billionaires–the “cream of the crop”. The very public plea to a nation to study programming doesn’t exactly send a throng of students in the program, but it hasn’t fallen on deaf ears either in our programming department. Such notable college dropouts (albeit very successful ones) as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are surely outliers, but there’s no denying the prestige of spearheading a company and doing philanthropic work.
In medicine, what seems like an infinite stream of information is akin to “drinking from a firehose”; so the saying goes. Likewise, technology is effervescent and with each passing lecture of shock & awe, fatigue would set in but we were forewarned. According to Moore’s law (1970’s), “processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers will double every two years.” There are extremely talented men and women in technology. In my class even, there were the stereotypical individuals in flip flops whose next startup could very well spring from someone’s ‘garage’ as it often seems to occur.
What I love about programming is that it is merely a tool to solve problems. It’s incredibly inexpensive to learn (unless certification or a degree is required for work), but the skillset or even the very industry could inspire anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit to think big. Coding is so versatile and powerful that it’s hard to imagine 21st century without the reach of software. In fact, this year two Intel finalists shared this very skill: Maya Varma won for designing a tool to help diagnose lung disease, while Amol Punjabi for “developing software that can help pharmaceutical companies treat cancer and heart disease.”
Also, while a programming workload can be stressful, its flexibility and quick return on investment still allows for a life outside of academics or work:
In a tech industry teeming with so many talented individuals, I can only control my own destiny as a future web developer/programmer and entrepreneur. I could not have asked for a more challenging and rewarding career path.
Said the renowned French artist, Henri Matisse:
Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.”