Programming Frustrations

I really like coding. I like getting to do things that have very visible and noticeable results. I like thinking about problems and coming up with ways to solve them. And trying new things. And learning new tricks and programming languages. It’s probably the main reason that I’ve stayed in computer science as long as I have.

But, there’s one thing I hate. And it’s the current type of coding environment I work in – where things that work one second and are somehow broken the next. And everything’s dynamic, so it’s super hard and almost impossible sometimes to reproduce an error or to guarantee you’ve fixed it. Which has to be the most frustrating experience I’ve ever had.

I have a list of known “issues” with my code that I’m trying to work through. And for every item I cross off, I end up adding another. So it’s been a very very slow process. Or, in one case, I cross it off with a note that I couldn’t reproduce it again, and so am not sure if it is or is not still a problem.

These issues have meant that all I want to do is work on our start-up code, because at least with that code, i can figure out what is going on. And make noticeable progress and improvements. And we have people wanting to do beta testing for us, which means having a working beta is actually really important.

Of course, working on that, doesn’t get me closer to finishing my degree. And today I got my participant hours so I can run my experiment. And in order to use them, I need to actually have a working experiment. Which means getting through that list of issues and solving them, or at least being as confident as possible that they aren’t actually issues anymore.

My current goal is to not work on the start-up until I’ve reached my daily goal of four hours of productivity (during the week). The problem with this, is that by the time I reach four hours of productivity, it’s either in the evening (because the day gets away from you and you get sucked into meetings and stuff that are good things to do, but really don’t count towards productivity) or you’re exhausted and don’t have much mental energy left to work with.

Which means I feel like I’m already back to running on empty. Because I keep pushing to try and make progress on both fronts, which is leading to going to bed later and later. And, I’m not a night person. But, I am one of those annoying people who wakes up early (by 7) every day, no matter how late I go to bed. So, while staying up later doesn’t always seem like a bad idea, multiple days where you get progressively less and less sleep means it is.

And it’s reading week!!! Shouldn’t I get some time off? The answer is yes – but that requires me to actually take time off. Which it turns out I’m terrible at doing. And most of my weekends for the next few weeks are already booked off. Yikes. I’m not sure a start-up was such a great idea – but I’m loving it, so too late.


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