Sep 17, 2010
I'm reading Paul Graham's "Hackers & Painters" and I have singled out this paragraph because it expresses my pain. Software development requires a totally different mindset to administration and operations. They are all hard and context-switching between them is a major pain. I suppose I go looking for trouble by choosing to write my own tools, but #devops people beware!
The worst thing is not the hours but the responsibility. Programmers and system administrators traditionally each have their own separate worries. Programmers have to worry about bugs, and system administrators have to worry about infrastructure. Programmers may spend a long day up to their elbows in source code, but at some point they get to go home and forget about it. System administrators never quite leave the job behind, but when they do get paged at 4:00 AM, they don't usually have to do anything very complicated. With Web-based applications, these two kinds of stress get combined. The programmers become system administrators, but without the sharply defined limits that ordinarily make the job bearable.
The rest of this (prophetic) essay is available online here: http://www.paulgraham.com/road.html