Watching the Olympics is always an incredible experience.
Seeing athletes who've trained for a half decade just to put on a few minute (or in rare cases an hour) long performance is breathtaking. To see hours and hours of effort over weeks, months, and years culminate to a brief moment in front of the camera is awe-inspiring.
A single mistake can cost everything.
It's humbling to compare this kind of preparation and performance with my own industry. I'm grateful every day that my months and years of experience don't come down to a single, 4-minute long performance.
Honestly, I don't think I could take that kind of pressure.
In software development, mistakes are learning opportunities. The server crashed? Great; figure out why and make sure to protect against that failure in the future. Your code fataled? Great; take some time to learn what you did wrong and correct the mistake.
How Old is Old?
I turned 30 last year, and feel I am just hitting my stride when it comes to software. I work with a solid team, build fantastic projects, and learn something new in the field each and every day.
There are several developers in the market who are older than me, all of whom are incredibly impressive.
There are other developers younger than me, again all of whom are incredibly impressive.
Watching the Olympics, I constantly hear commentators remark about athletes' age. Last night, a 31-yr old figure skater was called an "old man" and everyone was surprised he was still competing. Apparently he's retiring soon as well.
I just can't imagine that.
Yes, athletic events are much more physically demanding on the body than sitting at a desk writing code. But the idea that athletes have a "prime" after which they can no longer compete makes me wonder if developers do, too.
How long will we continue to be not just productive but revolutionary in our careers? When will the innovative ideas start to wane? How long until a developer begins to show his or her age and is deemed "old" by outsiders? By insiders?
Considering I'm just now hitting my stride, I wonder how long I'll be able to maintain it.