28 October, 2009

The hardest thing about programming.

When asked what the hardest thing about programming is, Bill Gates answered:

The hardest part is deciding what the algorithms are, and then simplifying them as much as you can. It’s difficult to get things down to their simplest forms. You have to simulate in your mind how the program’s going to work, and you have to have a complete grasp of how the various pieces of the program work together. The finest pieces of software are those where one individual has a complete sense of exactly how the program works. To have that, you have to really love the program and concentrate on keeping it simple, to an incredible degree.
What's interesting, however, is that the hardest thing about programming is also the best thing about programming.

I love programming because learning it is relatively easy, but mastering the art is extremely difficult. Like Gates says, reducing things to their simplest form is difficult - but fortunately, it's also beautiful. It's also true that the finest software is written by those who love the program and make a deliberate effort to keep it simple - and again, although difficult, being able to model an entire system in your head is pretty awesome!


Post a Comment