How much fun it is to be a programmer

That is why being a programmer is a real great job

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Whatever for nerds! Programmers do a hell of a cool job. We met six of them and heard what they think is great about their job.

Johannes Hahn October 17, 2018

What kind of magicians do they have to be who create computer programs? Out of nowhere! Only with letters. And suddenly the computer can do something completely new. Seemingly innumerable small elements interlock and create an illusion that everything runs smoothly. Sorcery? Nope! Designing a program or an app is actually nothing more than building a chair: craft! That one can learn. And computers are not strange or strange devices with their own rules, but tools. Which one can use meaningfully (for oneself). Because in the world of code, logic rules, which makes dealing with errors and their analysis correspondingly easy.

Programmers are co-determinants

We live in times when technology is ubiquitous and computer programs are a daily tool. The ability to understand a programming language gives you a great advantage: Instead of letting technology rule you, you just have to master the right language to turn the tables and become a designer. And that's how it should be, because actually the technology that we humans have designed works for us humans. So we should definitely become co-determiners!

But how do you become a co-determiner? Programmers know! You love the look behind the scenes, are curious and find logic fascinating.

But how do you become a co-determiner? Programmers know! And that's why we asked her. What they enjoy about their job, why working with code is so creative. And of course we also wanted to know whether you absolutely have to study computer science in order to become a programmer. So we met six of them. And there is one thing that we can anticipate here: our interview partners love to look behind the scenes, are curious and find logic fascinating. Programmers do exciting things with code and almost always have reason to be proud of themselves. Sounds like a real dream job, doesn't it? Right! Let's go:

Marie (29): "Programming is not magic"

Marie is a programmer in a Prototype Fund project.

“I first studied sociology and political science. During the Snowden affair, I had the feeling that something was missing me here. So I started encrypting my emails and taking part in programming workshops at Rails Girls Berlin. As a scholarship holder of the Rails Girls Summer of Code, I built something of my own with my team colleague for the first time: a Twitter feed that can be integrated into a website - but which protects the data. When everything worked out in the end, I was super proud. Computers were previously unknown, but now I can look behind the scenes. I am currently programming an open source cycle tracking app for menstruation with funding from the Federal Ministry for Research and Education, which protects the data entered by users. I also co-founded Heart of Code, a hackspace for women. There we create a space to implement projects. Programming is always about doing something. Everyone can do something with it, no matter what profession you work in or whether you are tackling a personal project. It's not magic. "

What is a hackspace?

Also called hackerspace, they are mostly fixed rooms, supported by an association, in which the members can exchange ideas on topics such as technology or science, but can also tackle projects together. Marie describes Heart of Code like this: “We are a registered, non-profit association in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Women who are enthusiastic about technology and want to design or learn something can come to us. "

Wolfgang (59): "I like to look behind the scenes"

Wolfgang is development manager at Südwest-Elektronik.

“I wrote my first program in assembler in the early 1980s as a student at the university, back then it was about synchronizing a camera in order to create two-and-a-half-dimensional images. This means that the images were flat, but the height information is still saved. By the time I finished the program and it did exactly what it was supposed to, I was pretty proud! I like to look behind the scenes and like to think about the logic behind a program. For me, writing software has two sides: On the one hand, there is the technical aspect. On the other hand, you also have to think a lot.

All programming languages ​​have strict rules. So I find it easier to learn than a foreign language. Because in programming languages ​​you always find the same elements. If you are someone who likes to think in a structured way, it is likely to be easier. Today it is also a little easier to learn to program because there are many script languages ​​that simplify programming with their own libraries, i.e. an already integrated collection of frequently used functions. "

What are assemblers?

Assembler is a collective term for programming languages ​​of the second generation, which are mostly geared towards certain processors. Instead of programming a processor directly in numerical codes (as is the case in the machine languages ​​of the first generation), text commands (e.g. "Move", "Print" etc.) are entered. Assembly languages ​​are quite difficult to learn compared to modern third generation programming languages.

Kerstin (53): "Programming is not much different than building a cabinet"

Kerstin is a lecturer at the Frauencomputerzentrum Berlin e.V.

“After my apprenticeship as a carpenter, I ended up in Berlin in the mid-1980s. At that time I did retraining to become a communications electronics technician and worked in a computer shop, where I installed hardware and set up computers. I enjoyed that, and then I realized: I want to do something like that! That was my start. Later, in the 1990s, I saw the Internet industry boom. I worked with a friend in an agency, where we made websites and small programs. Later I developed various e-learning applications, including Joomla courses.

This look behind the scenes has always been the most exciting part of my work for me. And to see a website grow so slowly, that makes you a little proud. At the end of the working day you have created something while programming. It's not much different from building a closet. Today I give courses and advanced training at the Frauencomputerzentrum Berlin e.V. There I teach women who want to get back into work the basics of using computers and the Internet. "

How do you program websites?

Kerstin says: “When I started, websites were still programmed statically, with HTML or Javascript. Today this happens with dynamic databases and user interfaces, of which Wordpress or Typo3 are the best known. These programs are summarized under the term content management system (CMS). "

Robert (35): “Logical thinking! That's what fascinates me about programming "

Robert is the managing director of the online agency q23.Medien.

“I taught myself programming during my training as a retail salesman. My boss encouraged me at the time and then I just got started - without any training or tutorial. At that time I was reading magazines for the Commodore C64. Program codes for small applications were printed there, which I typed into my computer and thus made me familiar with the language. Programming is always about recognizing the problem and looking for a solution. Logical thinking! That's what fascinates me about it. If a mistake happens, it is usually not in the computer, but rather a silly or logic error made by humans. Approaching errors analytically, changing various factors, thereby optimizing processes - that is very satisfying. This approach has definitely had an impact on my holistic way of thinking. I believe that understanding a programming language is as important today as it was before speaking English. And the good news is: you can learn to program at the age of 13 or even 70. There is no limit. "

What is programming actually?

Even if it sometimes seems like that: Programmers are not magicians at all! And they're not totally cerebral nerds either. Your job is to write program code in a programming language. If you will, they can speak a foreign language - the language of computers. It is their craft that programmers have to master. The entered code is then interpreted by the processor of a computer and then executes the requested commands. For example, complex simulations are started.

Nina (37): "Girls should see software development as an interesting job!"

Nina is a software developer and consultant at Thougthworks.

“I started programming late, after studying history and politics and my first jobs. Working as an online editor, I had a lot of exposure to code. A Rails Girls Hamburg workshop then encouraged me to learn how to program properly. That's how I got my first job at a start-up. At first I didn't have the feeling that I could do much, but the boss had confidence in me.

"For me, programming is teamwork, the cliché of the lonely programmer just isn't right."

For me, programming is teamwork, the cliché of the lonely programmer just isn't true. For example, I always work with a colleague, so we can exchange ideas about our program code. I enjoy writing good code, programming everything in a meaningful and understandable way. I always have in the back of my mind: Who am I building this for? That's why I try to put myself in other roles and perspectives. I find it important to represent a variety of perspectives and ways of thinking in the process of creating a program. To do this, we need more diversity in the programming teams. Therefore, for example, many more girls should see software development as an interesting job. For a long time I thought: this is not for me. Today I think that's a shame. "

How do you become a programmer?

You don't have to have studied computer science to be a good programmer. Because our interview partners all got to their work with code on more or less winding paths. Of course, studying computer science also offers the opportunity to work as a programmer. But there are also workshops, courses or internet videos with which you can teach yourself the basics of a programming language nowadays. For that you need little more than curiosity and a bit of understanding, as our interviewees say.

Mareile (21): "For me, programming is also a form of independence"

Mareile is training to be a digital media designer.

“I am currently training to be a media designer. My goal is to study communication design one day - the training is a good prerequisite for this. I think it's nice that I'm doing something that reaches people; for example a poster or a well-designed user experience. At the moment I am mainly working with design languages ​​such as HTML and CSS, later I will be confronted with Javascript. I'm looking forward to it because I think it's cool to get to know this technical side. The first time I installed a logo on a website with CSS and it was displayed without any problems, I was proud.

Ultimately, programming is also a form of independence for me - I want to be able to change something myself. In addition, it always helps to know what is technically possible and what is not. At first I thought: You can't learn programming, you can do that. But now I read the code of a website like a book and know my way around better than when I started my training. I didn't think it would go that fast. It is a little easier to learn to code today because technology is much more contemporary. I think that's great: The easier it is to get into this area, the more people - especially women - have the opportunity to learn programming. "

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