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Coding Explained in Three Comics

Wednesday, June 20, 2018, by Orenna Brand
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This summer, I’m working on the Data Provenance in R project. It is essentially a programming job. And, unfortunately, frustration is a part of the job of software engineering. But, comedy is born out of frustration, and so here we are. 

My experience thus far can be best described with these three comics: 

1. It’s important to practice good style.


2. Programming can be a lonely endeavour sometimes.


3. Joe (my project partner) and I are the resident IT people because we ~sort of~ know how to program in R. R is not the best software development language out there (it was made for statistical analysis, after all), but, from the perspective of the other students here, the ability to program is a superpower.

Of course, despite the frustrations, I feel that I am learning a lot about what being a programmer entails, what it takes to be a good one, and whether I see myself doing this as a career.

In addition, this program affords a pretty unique experience of work-life balance. Unless you choose to continue working after the workday is over, free time is truly free time. Part of what allows this is being close to the middle of nowhere—there’s not much you can do outside of the forest.

For some reason, our cohort of summer students has taken up the task of watching bad horror movies. I’ve been using my time to read, watch Westworld, finish a scarf I’ve been knitting since my junior year of high school, and try my (shaky) hand at comics.

Inspired (heavily) by xkcd.

Orenna is a rising sophomore at Columbia University studying Computer Science and Classics.