life of a software engineer

Life of Py: How it feels to be a software engineer

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It’s 8am. Just arrived at the office. This is usually my time of the day, a time when I don’t have to rush things. Check my emails, open the stackoverflow tab. I plan things for the day and get on it. Once a while I pick up a question on SO and start building the solution. Usually 1 out of 5 questions that I answer involve a comment on educating the new user how to provide a minimal, complete and verifiable example. Notification at the top right tells me I need to flag and edit around 20 low quality posts. Most of the time I end up doing some edits, but when I am not feeling upto it I just skip it. Feels mundane.

Sometimes when I am about to post my solution, I see that there already are 3 more answers already that came before me. I suck it up, review their answers, upvote the best ones and thank the ones that dazzle. On other times I take it on my ego and start timing my solutions against theirs to see whose is better. Everyday I come and see a green glow of points on my notifications tab I get a dopamine hit. Feels good.

I get on with my meetings and work. More new initiatives, reviving the existing ones, working on finishing the current ones, that’s what it all seems to be about. While I am searching for code I stumble upon a github repo. Boy that brought back some good memories. I login, check my repos and open issues. Some days I even work on it. I am reminded of all the projects I had promised to work on my mind but never got started. Feels bad.

It’s been more than a month since I blogged. Mostly I write tech blogs just for kicks, but usually there is never such a big gap. The steady 100 hits per day on Google Analytics feels that I may have created something worthwhile, but I was kind of rooting for more. “I should write more often”, I would tell myself, start a draft and around the 3rd paragraph save it and make a mental note that this is “procrastination for creativity”, I should really let it mull. Feels guilty.

I have planned my next course as a Udemy instructor, but oh the thought of recording it, editing it and then the publishing and the marketing – the alternative to just laze around seems more and more attractive. As it is weekends is the only time when I can work for 12 hours straight to make this happen, wasting that time would just end up piling up. But the reviews is what keeps it alive. One honest review which said this content was a huge help – that’s all the serotonin I can ask for. “I will keep doing this”. Feels satisfying.

Dipping your dumplings on a bunch of sauces is not supposed to enhance the taste. It actually blurs everything and ends up tasting bad! But everyday I feel I am doing the same. “What about that riff I had composed a few months back on the guitar? I think I recorded it I must have it somewhere. I will have to complete that composition sometime!“. Should I just cut back on a few things? What about spending time with your family and loved ones? Easy! Just sleep 5 hours instead of your usual 6 and you can still manage to carve that time out. And yet, everything that we are supposed to do is part of a plan. It all has to lead to something. “One common goal, one unified vision” – I tell myself. As Steve Jobs can put it better than me, I wish it’s safer to quote him – “You can only connect the dots going backward“. Hoping that happens. Feels intimading.

Finally as I come towards the end of writing this, I think I could have done a better job on articulating what I feel. But you have to start somewhere. I feel proud and humbled at the same time about whatever little I have achieved, frustrated about what I didn’t and looking forward to what I can. And that’s just a part of my life as a software engineer. Feels complete.


Data Scientist, Blogger, Guitar Player and geeks out on new technology through and through

  • Yep, that about sums it up! 👍🏻

    • Vivek Kalyanarangan

      Thanks Edward!