Nithin Bekal

Posts About Notes Slides

Leave me alone when I'm coding

08 Nov 2011

Recently, Roy Bahat, president of IGN Entertainment, wrote about why he’s learning to code. This part of his post, coming from someone who isn’t a programmer by profession, was especially insightful:

Every time I open my editor, I’m reminded that I can’t just “jump in for a few minutes” the way I can with my usual work - either because coding isn’t like that, or because I’m not good enough yet. It takes me time to rev up, remember what I was supposed to be doing and how it fits together.

How often have you had to explain to someone who isn’t a programmer that you can’t just dive in and start coding right away? That it takes some time for you to settle down with the program and become really productive? That a single 3-hour stretch of uninterrupted coding could never be substituted by three one-hour blocks separated by meetings?

I wish everyone who enters software industry - in non-programming roles - would understand the fact that a programmer’s day isn’t neatly split into neat 60-minute blocks in Microsoft Outlook calendar. The only way they could understand is if they tried writing some code of their own. Sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen in most software companies.

PS. I just noticed another great article on Roy’s blog on the same topic: Learning to code might become a basic job requirement. Do read it.

Paul Graham has written an article about the same topic Maker’s Schedule.

Hi, I’m Nithin Bekal, a software craftsman with over 7 years of experience in shipping web applications. I mostly use Ruby, but lately have also been exploring Elixir. Co-founder of, and helping organize Rubyconf India. Tweet to me at @nithinbekal.