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If you could not have chosen programming then...?

 
Bartender
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Let's say that for whatever reason that you could not have chosen to be a computer programmer then what do you think your profession would be?

I'm really not too sure what I'd would have chosen computer programming as this has formed much of my life.
I suspect that I may have chosen something like being an electrician, if I was choosing again before I finished high school.

I do struggle with this question as I've wanted to be a computer programmer since I was about 15 years old, because my high school computer class was easy for me.
Not only that, I was really into video games back in those days and I wanted to create video games.

If we fast forward a couple of years, maybe I'd be a some sort of animator using tools like 3DS Max, Maya or ZBrush.
I'm am fairly comfortable using 3DS Max and ZBrush but this is most likely due to the fact that I took a year of schooling, after I got my programming job, in which those tools were heavily used.
 
Marshal
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If I hadn't had the alternative to become a programmer, I would have tried harder to find a job as a math professor. I might have got a job at a junior college somewhere, which would have been a bad thing for a generation of students. But fortunately I was looking for work just as people were starting to use primitive minicomputers to run their businesses. I got a job with a company which was getting into the business of consulting for those businesses and the rest is history.
 
Marshal
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Physician.
 
author
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Since I have a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering, I guess I would be doing that....
 
Bartender
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I guess I could have chosen programming, but I didn't. Regrettably, otherwise I would have been a multi millionaire, no doubt....
 
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I studied mechanical engineering. Also, I worked as one for a while in a toolroom (thats a cool place to work too; and thats where all the drilling, milling, grinding, boring machines and lathes, hammers, files, vices, toolbits etc are in action. Its also very creative place, just like a programmers workshop.

But, then what would have happened if I had continued?

One day, I would be on the factory production floor just completing the order placed by a customer (a very important guy, always), and the customer is also there waiting to pick his deliverables. But, I have to print the delivery or internal delivery documentation (its a production planning and control application). For some reason it is taking a lot of time (more than the usual 3 minutes). Its frustrating to wait for a computer to generate note which is required with my deliverables.

What happened? Very well, the SQL query that generates the data for the report is not optimized this time (code maintenance broke it, as usual). And then, someone makes lots of noises at the IT department and finally its figured and the explain plan or some such thing wasn't right, etc...

If you could not have chosen programming then...?



I wouldn't know really. But as the Buddha said "What you think you become".
 
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Musician.  I was, in fact a professional musician for many years, but family pressures pushed me into programming, which was the new hot thing in the early eighties. Now I love it, even if I don't do it professionally any more.

One of things I do now is an intersection of programming and musicianship: I engrave music with LilyPond.  In uses a source code like input file to model the music.
 
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Actor, standup comedian, anything artistic, scientist (physics, chemistry), maybe historian. So in the area of either the arts or exact science. Never something like physician, a medical profession, business, management. But hey, I am doing computer science, and that kinda is like a scientific art, is it not?!
 
Pete Letkeman
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Wow, quite the range. One thing that I know for sure is that I did not enjoy biology class in school so I would not have chosen physician like Bear.
I did find physics, chemistry and a couple of different math areas to be enjoyable even if I did not do too well in them.
 
Marshal
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It used to be a tradition in a primary school at early years to write down what would you want to be when you grow up, so the teacher could collect the piece of papers, and when there is a time of 10 years after you finished school, all classmates gather again and read them out loud so everybody knows. I wrote that I’d want to be a computer network engineer. After finished school I studied electronics and tried to follow this path by doing also various Cisco Systems certification programs, worked in that area, but then at some point programming interest kicked in, so started learning that. More and more interest I get about academia, would wish to try as a teaching assistant of some cs module at some point. But need to accomplish quite a few milestones still... Maybe one day.

Edit: interesting topic though, have a cow, Pete.
 
Liutauras Vilda
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Jan de Boer wrote:Actor, standup comedian, anything artistic...


Fun already it seems you do have sense of humour
 
Paul Clapham
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Jan de Boer wrote:But hey, I am doing computer science, and that kinda is like a scientific art, is it not?!



Mathematics is an art form, and computer science is sort of applied mathematics. And pure mathematicians have usually considered applied mathematics to be the same kind of art form that advertising is. Sure, you can look at advertising as an "art" but it isn't a "fine art".

But that was in the old days, and I think it was an attitude which was related to the British class system -- the upper classes looked down on people who went into "trade" (i.e. business). Ever since the number theorists Rivest, Shamir, and Adelman invented public-key encryption, which is a beautiful invention but also financially very fruitful, I don't believe you find that attitude nearly as often.
 
Jan de Boer
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the upper classes looked down on people who went into "trade"



The last thing I consider myself is upper class. But the reason behind this, is that I like to create something new. And that may be art, or it may be an new thought in science. What I do not like is the snake pit of management, in my view it creates nothing. It is just whether or not you have a big mouth. Same goes for sales. Then you are good when you nag to other people long enough to buy something from you. Do I then look down on those people? Well, I sure do not admire the management, that is for sure. Another thing is that I am just too stubborn and weird for management. These traits are good for both art and science, but not for company politics.
 
Marshal
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Paul Clapham wrote:. . . . But that was in the old days, and I think it was an attitude which was related to the British class system . . . .

That sounds accurate, but as you imply, out of date.
 
Greenhorn
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My alternate profession would have been an aircraft maintenance engineer since I have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering
 
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I'm quite handy at fixing small electronic items and have had jobs in the past doing those things. Before my programming career I have fixed ATM's in a workshop in Milton Keynes. I have toured the countryside of Wiltshire and Somerset fixing POS equipment for banks, small retails shops, and large hardware stores (I was your typical 'white van man'). I have been part of the quality team for a telecoms electronic repair shop. I have done electrical assembly (contracting while at school). I really enjoyed most of these things but discovered there was very little money in it. I remembered that the most enjoyable part of my Electronic Engineering undergraduate course I did was the programming modules so retrained as a software engineer and have been doing it ever since.

It's hard to say what I would be doing it not programming, but I don't think I'd be as happy at it.
 
Bartender
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Oh, I did it!  Many years back I left a promising job as programmer and joined the (British) Army.  
Let me just say army training was a bit of a shock to the system  
 
Pete Letkeman
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Liutauras Vilda wrote:It used to be a tradition in a primary school at early years to write down what would you want to be when you grow up, so the teacher could collect the piece of papers, and when there is a time of 10 years after you finished school, all classmates gather again and read them out loud so everybody knows.

A ten year time frame seems like a long time especially when it comes to computers.
I'm sure that many jobs now require some computer knowledge, but I wonder if other professions change as drastically as computers in a ten year time frame?

Liutauras Vilda wrote:Edit: interesting topic though, have a cow, Pete.

Thank you much Liutauras.
 
Paul Clapham
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Jan de Boer wrote:The last thing I consider myself is upper class. But the reason behind this, is that I like to create something new.



That's what I like about programming -- usually when you fix a problem, it stays fixed. (And yes, most of programming is fixing old things rather than creating new things.) Unlike, say, teaching, where you mostly can't fix the problems and you get more of the same problems the next year. (Okay, teachers, I know you don't think of your job that way but I would. That's why you're teachers and I'm not.)
 
Jan de Boer
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Paul Clapham wrote:Unlike, say, teaching, where you mostly can't fix the problems and you get more of the same problems the next year.



But I like teenagers though. Maybe I could be a teacher too! Teenagers are in the time of their life that will shape them the most. I never had any problems with my daughter when she was 14, 15. I could not imagine what those other parents were talking about when they told me kids that age are that much trouble. Also her girlfriends were just really nice always! But yeah well, that probably is a subjective experience.
 
Rancher
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Since I am drawn towards, and tend to have empathy for, people struggling in life, particularly those with mental issues, I probably would have pursued something in the psychology field.

But my daughter sort of "carried the torch" anyway, as she is a Behavioural Therapist.

Very interesting to see what others would have done had they not gone down the programming path.

Great topic Pete!
 
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I think it would have been an accountant as that was the only job I knew the name of, what i actually wanted to be was an Investment manager for a large company.
 
Saloon Keeper
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I would have had to get an honest job and work for a living.  

Originally, I'd expected to go into meteorology, but I played around with rocket math in high school and computers are a lot more fun than slide rules for that. In fact, my first independent program calculated and plotted orbits.

Then again, I'm no longer doing pure programming, since being more or less pushed out of the field by various external forces. Now I'm doing Internet of Things design, so while I write code for Arduino and Raspberry Pi, I also design circuits, draft and 3D print objects and stuff like that.

Although for the right price, I'll gladly set you up a complete Enterprise Linux shop, including cloud servers, provisioners, containers, backup and recovery services, etc., etc., etc. One of my more complex projects last year was an Ansible set-up for a client in Portugal who needed to be able to take a blank VM and install/configure the PostgreSQL DBMS, PostGIS location services, Tomcat, custom webapps and Pentaho Kettle data transformation and load services as a one-button solution.
 
Bartender
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I was a professional Graphics designer

I was working as a graphics designer for a pharmaceutical company. But, I changed my mind and decided to pursue designing only as a hobby. I was a good C programmer back then and I had to take the most important decision in my life: Continue as a designer or go ahead with programming.
 
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