March 15, 2021


Way back in the early 1980’s, when I decided to make the switch from modern languages to information technology, some people were astonished.  How could I possibly think I’d be any good at writing software?  I was a woman, and I didn’t have a maths, or even a numerate degree.  How dare I think of becoming a programmer?

My answer was simple “It’s the same skill isn’t it?  Translating from one language to another?  It’s just that in this case I’m translating from human to machine instead of human to human.”

I was good at it too (to the ongoing astonishment of some of my managers), because I realised early on that writing software isn’t just about translating from one language to another, it’s about translating ideas into action, and you can’t translate effectively if you don’t fully understand those ideas and the human desires that drive them.

It turns out that coding well isn’t about numbers at all.   It’s about people.  It’s about empathy.  It’s about logic.

In other words, it’s about being human.

Nobody has a monopoly on that.