So you’re Computer Science seniors. Congratulations! We’ve taught you to write…
And you’re darned good at it from what we can tell. Some of you are elegant composers of programmatic poetry, others architects of grand software structure, and others are codeslingers — the last programmer left standing when all the shots have been fired. Truth is, you’re good at what we’ve trained you to do. And the industry will reward you for your aptitude and your perseverance.
To a point….
Until it’s time to write your annual report and convince your managers that you’re all you think you are. Heck, maybe you are. But they won’t know it until you express it… In writing.
Until the time that you see a critical technical need in your organization and set about to write a persuasive memo (in English!) to convince the powers-that-be that the collective captains should change course quickly. “Trust me because I’m smart,” won’t cut it.
Until the time that you find that you don’t work alone anymore, and that others must come to understand what you understand, using your arcane scribblings as their primary source of enlightenment. Or when those naïve newbies find themselves maintaining the software that you wrote, struggling to understand your code because the comments are, shall we say, terse.
At these junctures, I hope you come to understand more deeply that while code controls computer behavior, prose is better suited for persuading people.
And while your computer delivers perfect, blind obedience to your incantations…
People distribute the promotions… and the praise… the respect… and the raise.