Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I.T. Is Like, So Easy, Eh?

I really can't stand some people, of the middle aged variety, who thinks we who studied Computer Science have had it easy. They think anyone can do what we do. Without studying.

I ran into this 'Uncle' at one of those society parties. He has just recently moved to Canada after like a lifetime in the Middle East.

Him: "So, Mezba, how have you been?"

Me: "Same old same ... I mean I have been good, Alhamdulillah. How are you?"

Him: "I have been thinking ... you are doing something in computers right?"

Me: "Yes". Yeah, I program those code that work on machines that supply electricity to downtown Toronto, but yeah, I am doing 'something in computers'.

Him: "I have decided to accept a job in that ... field ... too."

Me [surprised]: "Yeah? You have a job offer already?"

Him: "Oh no, I am going to apply to one of those programming positions. I mean with my experience and education it should be easy right?"

Me: "Oh, sure uncle, you go right ahead." Education? You are a Mechanical Engineer who graduated when Bangladesh was still East Pakistan. That too from Solimullah High Institute of Technology. 1960. Experience? You have worked 20 years for the government in the rich Middle East where if a machine was broken they just got a new one instead of fixing it.

Him: "Sure, the job requires ..Ja..Ja.. Java, C, HTML, but I mean I can learn it in 4-5 days right?"

Me: "Oh absolutely." Sure, it took us 4 years of blood and sweat and tears in university, not to mention those pesky linear algebra and discrete math courses, but I am sure you, who requires help downloading an attachment from your email, can learn it in 4-5 days.

Him [continuing]: "Yeah, my son is giving me this book, Programming Java In 7 Days. So I should be OK."

Me [silent]. Isn't your son studying Philosophy?

Him: "I heard they do train you on the job too. So after I pass those interviews, I think I can accept the job."

I.T. is not easy. We did not spend 4 years learning a programming language. We spent 4 years studying how to think like a program. We learnt how to not just to code, but to code properly, efficiently. O(n) instead of O(n2). If you don't know that don't think about it.

We studied analysis, design of information systems, data management. We had to spend 4 years where there were 2 girls for 40 guys. Sure, our social skills may need a little refining, but the next time your airplane lands safely, your car stops properly, your letter prints correctly, that's us.

We are not someone you call to fix your damn computer because you opened an email attachment from Nigeria that said "Be Rich Tomorrow, I Just Need You To Run This Program Today". If you don't know when your printer cartridge is empty and are perplexed as to why your document won't print, don't call us.

We will call you.


Rashed said...

Ask the uncle to take CSCA58 (a first year fresher's course at U of Toronto) after he has learnt his Java in 7 days.

Rashed said...

Books which promise to teach you a programming language in x number of days, are only meant for people who have learnt the basics of programming AND who have programmed furiously for atleast a year. Programming should not be mistaken to be alike other tasks such as cookery, gardening or plumbing.

Shabina said...

Salams, hey the wire had a story today that I thought you'd be interested in - out of 159 countries, Bangladesh was found the most corrupt...google it! (sucks)

mezba said...


*LOL (somewhat sadly)*

You know, someone recently asked me out of the blue for proof of the existence of Allah (God). Rather than point out Surah Rahman I just said look at Bangladesh.

The fact that the country runs is definite proof that there is a God.

The tax collectors are corrupt, the custom officials are corrupt, the policemen are corrupt, the telephone line installer, the cable operator, the dukandaar's weigh machine, the milkman ... you get the idea.. many of them are corrupt, forced by poverty.

Even then the trash is picked up (sort of), telephones are installed (eventually), traffic flows (15 kph), taxes are collected, criminals prosecuted, electricity generated, people get paid, movies are made, ... this all points to a higher Being.

*LOL again (feeling somewhat better)*