People who excel at programming, notes the coder and tech-culture critic Maciej Cegłowski, often “become convinced that they have a unique ability to understand any kind of system at all, from first principles, without prior training, thanks to their superior powers of analysis. Success in the artificially constructed world of software design promotes a dangerous confidence.”
This is from Coders, a book I only just downloaded but am absolutely tearing through.
The subtitle is “how software programmers think, and how their thinking is changing our world”, which is a clue to what Ceglowski is referring to.
When you’re writing code you’re trying to break a process down, to first principles and then into easy steps as you go along.
You build it back up in an environment over which you have a huge amount of control, that thrives on trial, error and iteration.
Where something usually either works or breaks obviously. Everything is very structured and built upon logic.
But by this point you’ve also abstracted so much you can trick yourself into thinking you’ve mastered all the nuances, not just how to get from A to B.
It’s also an alluring way of thinking, which you begin applying to other problems in your life. In a similar way to how you can start thinking in another language if you are sufficiently steeped in it.
This is a fantastic book so far. Hope to post some more.
As always my emphasis.