Code Monkeys and The Great Leap Forward

Posted on July 30, 2011



On Today’s Slashdot news page, a new story was submitted regarding standardization efforts for a universal unstructured query language for NoSQL databases. In typical Slashdot’s fashion, some comments in it made me cringe:

UNQL, for a post-relational world. Nice. Meanwhile 90% [citation needed] of people working with databases can’t even get relational databases right. Learning to run before learning to walk, anyone?

And we are moving into functional and functional-object-hybrid programming paradigms while a large number – if not the majority – of programmers in 2011 cannot even do structured programming. We have people who due to ignorance or malice/lack of ethics (and sometimes both) try every single way to break the Bohm-Jacopini Theorem using whatever du jour OOP language of the day (hyperspaghetti anyone?).

Using a more vulgar – and yet quite accurate analogy – the industry is filled with hordes of code monkeys who randomly and furiously fling shit at their monitors, packing, selling and deploying whatever sticks to their unsuspecting users.

This is how many do their coding

So what’s the point? Do we stop innovation just because a bunch of people are behind the times?

If we had to wait for every person to come up to speed, we would still be reading data off punch cards using a bastard mix of COBOL and mainframe assembly in a blitzkrieging GOTO estravangaza from hell gone mad.

There are valid reasons (and invalid ones) for people and organizations to stay behind. But their reasons are not reasons for the industry as a whole.

Industrial and academic R&D and innovation forces have an obligation to move forward. Individual programmers have an obligation to educate themselves and to develop the work ethics to do things right wherever and whenever possible.

Lack of the later is not reason to bog down the former. We can never, ever, forget that.