Monday, October 4, 2010

Random Thought at 1am: Treating People Like Human Beings

I've changed a lot since I came out of post secondary.

When I first came out of post secondary (BCIT), I was a driven, dedicated, and passionate knowledge-hungry kid that wanted to tackle each and every challenge on my path to glory. After developing my technical skills, I solidified myself as a maven for writing great code and building great software. Negatively, on my career path, I came across many different people that end up not treating me for who I am. In my past, I've been often labeled as a "kid" or "inexperienced codemonkey" in the workplace. I believe that if someone wants to label me as that then they can--it's completely their opinion; however, someone shouldn't be completely ignoring my technical opinion because of the limited number of years I've been programming--That's ageism.

One thing that holds true about technology and design is that everything changes so fast. "Highly experienced developers" can legitimately be kids out of school nowadays because of how fast they learn new technologies and leapfrog over pitfalls. "Experience" is questionable now.

Conversely, in other industries, you can compare a carpenter with 40 years of experience to an apprentice carpenter--The difference is huge. If you compare a JavaScript developer with 20 years of experience to a Computer Science graduate--what can you honestly make out of this? 20 years ago, no one used JavaScript to create stunning animations, highly scalable network programs (NodeJS), or amazingly responsive interfaces. So why does technical experience matter? Results should matter. Does the person know how to "get things done"?

Even though I've run into these situations where I am a victim in some way of ageism, I reflect on these experiences and ultimately those experiences have made me a battle-hardened, better person. For a while now, I hold true to this: I am a person of integrity, maturity, and technical ability with a tad bit of facetiousness to break tense situations. You can take shots at me all you want but at the end of the day, I'll still treat you like a human being. Following this mantra has done wonders for me in terms of career, quality of life, and social life.

There are several people in my workplace that exemplify this heroic persona--you know who are. You guys are the real heroes.

Good luck and have fun,
Jaime Bueza

Jaime Bueza is a software developer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has developed web applications for Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Ritchie Brothers, Kiwi Collections, Cox Communications and Microsoft. When he's not developing useful software that constantly evolves with business requirements, he's creating tutorial videos for aspiring front-end developers.