When I taught a Software Carpentry workshop at UC-Boulder in early January, I ended the two days by giving a little bit of a motivational summary. I opened with this tweet from the previous day’s Software Carpentry instructor training, and I finished with Starlogs, to laughter and applause.
But in the middle, I showed this:
from a tumblr post with the caption “when I successfully debug my sas code.”
I put it up because I think that feeling^ is important. That feeling when your code finally works, when all the dots appear from
nosetests, when you’re actually able to reuse a script because you wrote notes, when you restore an accidentally deleted directory, when it only takes a few minutes to execute a task because you now have options besides excel. One of the reasons I like knowing how to use a command line (besides its practicality) is the symbolic empowerment against my own insecurities about my identity as a computer user. I started writing nicer code and version controlling and writing shell scripts not just because it was “right” or “practical” but because it made me feel good about myself.
I feel smart and competent and badass when I know that I am using tools well to maximize my productivity, and that motivates me to continue using them. It’s not my only motivation, and it may not motivate everyone, but I think it’s valid and should be something that we can talk about.