“It’s not brain surgery” and “it’s not rocket science” are superlatives that denote tasks that lack comparable complexity. Indeed, the brain is a remarkable organ which we have sought to emulate with ingenuous engineering designs (e.g CPU as brain, thermostat as hypothalamus, artificial intelligence as nervous system). Likewise, launching expensive equipment into space to probe the universe’s hidden secrets is the stuff of science fiction (e.g. gravity-assist, Hubble Telescope).
Now, allow me to introduce the “it’s not computer programming” to that prestigious list.
You and I will likely be forgiven for a few grammatical errors every now and then. We can still get our point across, however. Not so in programming. Comparatively speaking, two types of errors may arise when writing a computer program: logic and syntax errors. The latter are the grammatical errors that creep up in the course of writing a program. Still, logic errors are the most difficult to spot because the program is allowed to run with surprising results. For example, we all want the pay program to multiply (not add) hours times hourly pay for an accurate paycheck.
Computer programming is a painstaking endeavor. It requires patience, for sure, but one must also master the art of debugging simple to complex programs that often runs hundred of lines of codes. Finally, writing and debugging complex programs is seldom done in one seating. The point is that your code may contain logic, syntax errors or both. Yet, there is inherent beauty in writing sophisticated programs to fulfill a need.
Medicine and engineering are testament of our intellectual prowess. Much the same, using a compiler or an interpreter to convert high-level languages to machine language (1s and 0s) is a tectonic shift in computing (algorithmic processes). For many countries, it is intrinsic to our way of life.
Still, we must also reckon with hackers writing sophisticated and deceptive software (malware) for money extortion (i.e. ransomware). Here, the victim’s computer is breached and data is held hostage until a ransom is paid.
Computer programming is neither brain surgery nor rocket science. Nevertheless, surgeons and aeronautical engineers rely on computer programs for ruthless precision.
One could argue that with societies getting evermore complex, computer programming is here to stay.