A Take On My Job (Computing), Part II

My post of the other day had me thinking - what is it I do in my vocation that I might do differently to the "...thousands, nay, millions of programmers..." around the world? Here's what I think my strengths are, and why I'm doing this kind of thing (IT):

  • I'm a structured type of person - this means that my "code" nearly always has comments, is well laid out, and follows some established standard practices in regards to naming conventions. Unfortunately this adds overhead to my work!

  • I have a pretty good memory - this helps when I start doing something over there, to remember what needed to happen over here. I also remember things I've read even if they're not applicable at the time, and may come back to them when I need to (via Google of course!)

  • I like solving problems - I'm not particularly eloquent or concise in my solutions, but given a computing-type problem, I can usually either come up with an answer (I'm writing this as one of my "answers" is processing in the background, and still going after 17 minutes) or a reason why I can't answer the problem. This is an area that needs improvement, though. I think I too often go for the "brute force" approach of trying something that works, even if it's slow and bulky, rather than use a bit more time to develop a more careful solution.

  • I like solving problems - yes, I already mentioned this, but just to be clear that this is one of the key things I do in my job. It's what I like (a lot) about computing.

  • I have a small amount of creativity - an post titled "The relationship between programming and music" (via Rob Birdwell) makes some interesting points that I (and my wife) can agree with. I don't see what I do as being boring or repetitive, rather it's challenging and creative. I admit that I re-use a lot of the same solutions to similar problems, but often have a chance to re-write them to suit the current situation or my improved ability.

  • I want to continue learning - got an idea? Love to hear it. Got a new tool or gadget? I'll try it. While I have to specialise to some degree, I keep my IT-related reading fairly broad. The one thing I'm not good at, however, is having a wide range of interests. I almost never read stuff about cars, or woodworking, or flower arranging, or [whatever].

The thing is, my strengths may actually be weaknesses (when does structure hinder creativity? when does creativity become too individualistic?)

So, what are your strengths in your job?

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