Professional coders and composing with lego bricks

To finish noodling on the casual coder, I think I'll end with the professional programmer. Back in they day this person's job was writing really tight code primarily around the limitations of Moore's Law to make an underpowered device do something that felt like magic. But a lot of doublings have taken place since Gordon Moore's original observation in 1965 and we now find ourselves wasting CPU cycles in the name of user experience and programmer productivity.

Most of this has come in the form of higher level languages (Python, Ruby, Javascript) but there is another equally if not more important side effect of not having to be as tightly coupled: the value of open source as the Lego bricks that working programmers can use to compose their way to a solution. Need functionality for JPEG metadata parsing? There are over a dozen projects on Github that will get you there. Same for servers, protocols, databases, and just about anything else you might need.

It is hard to call a working programmer a casual coder— after all these people are getting paid to get work done by making computers do things. But what is similar is that in the era of composable software many more people who could not have otherwise been professional programmers now can, thus making the pool of talent much larger. It is not casual but it is inclusive which means in effect that software will be able to creep into smaller and smaller nooks and crannies as it helps to connect the world and drive huge productivity gains into the future.

Long live the casual coder!