The State of Software engineering

The State of Software engineering

An open letter to the human behind the code

Marvin Kweyu's photo
Marvin Kweyu

Published on Nov 11, 2021

4 min read

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It has been more than a year since I jot down The Developer's mental Day, and this, is but an iteration, a reminisce , if you may, of the same.

This here, is dedicated to Kelvin (who , unfortunately, I did not get to go ziplining with), and all those like him. To the fallen engineers. May they rest in peace, wherever they are.

Why though, do I push for the developer, the human behind the code? Well, for a great number of reasons , quite honestly.

For one, it's the era of information. It is the era of information. Let that sink in.

A period in time where the 'yatza' moment , is largely attributed to how well you adapt to new data from the 7 billion people on earth. An era where, a miss of the internet , as a developer for a month or so will have you look like you came off a bandwagon from the past. A timelapse of the universe , like a glitch in the matrix. Woah!

Sidetrack:

[Spills coffee. Frantically tries to wipe it off the keyboard with a cloth]

You: "Oh, great, I just deleted 500 rows from the DB."

[ Beep! Boop! You have a new notification! ]

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Message preview: ' To the stake!'

You: [ Breathing heavily. Sweaty palms. ] Oh no!


Spare a minute with me before you open that slack notification and let us talk about you.

The importance of conversation

How are you? Like really?

Have you had your breakfast? What about a walk in the park? I'm not talking about the cold pizza you had leftover or the energy drink you keep staring at. I'm talking about real food. Have you worked on any part of your body other than your finger's typing skills? Is your back okay? Stop slouching!

Move fast and break things. Like privacy and trust.

No.

Move fast. Break things. Break a lot of things. Go forth and break! Exclude privacy and trust from this list. Definitely exclude yourself.

Take a beat and reflect on the journey you have had so far. Understand that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Check up on your colleague who keeps staring into the empty space. They might be calling out. They might need your help.

Spare a moment and talk about anything other than code. Talk about the fact that you're alive and get to breathe. You can actually breathe.

Share with me; about the moment you realized your belt buckle was worn out.

Mundane?

No. Not really.

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Let's talk about those migraines you get whenever you miss your morning coffee. How cranky do you feel?

"I've been taking three cups of coffee everyday for the last 2 years. I think I'd know if I was addicted." - a random developer.

Indulge me on the struggle you have with substance abuse. I'll listen, Kelvin. I will listen.

Take deep breaths. Get out of the chair and touch your toes (I honestly still can't do this ).

Break from cancel culture and the bid to keep up all the time, every minute of your day. Do not gain it at the cost of you. You are more important. You are the driving force for it all. I dare you not to code when on holiday.

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The keyword in this narrative, is conversation; to talk (with a skipping rope in tow, have to keep blood flowing).

So here we go, an open invitation to talk about our well being as developers. Be gone and away from the stack of algorithms , endless lines of code and join us. Let us talk about our health. Let us chime in on our human interaction. let us be human. Be a superstar at your health.

To any developer out there, the gate; twitter or mail is open.


To a friend I who should have had a closer look at, to those who might need context and those who might have a friend in need.

Kelvin was an engineer in his own right struggling with substance abuse and depression, unknown to some or most. With his loss , I have truly come to understand that depression isn't dark rooms and endless crying. Sometimes, it's getting up, going to work , smiling and getting home to feel empty inside.

And to dearest El , for keeping me sane at times that were dark. We all need a helping hand.

For this is war, and win we must.

Win.

 
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