A certain report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey lists Computer Programmer as the eighth-most-sleep-deprived occupation. Computer Programmer is actually the 7th most When I was working as an in-house Computer Programer full-time, I’d often come to work sleep deprived. There was a time when I had to tackle a very frustrating buffering algorithm for 3 or 4 months (maybe longer) and sometimes I’d nod off at my desk after beating my brains to figure out how to get the program to work.

My co-workers, who were medical off-staff completely with no such responsibilities, would wonder why I’d come to work so tired. Part of it was because in the evenings I was working on school-related things for 4-5 hours. The other part was because Programming is a very demanding profession! It takes quite a bit out of you! At times I could spend 2-3 hours programming something and 2-3 days trying to debug that program and figure out what went wrong.

However, the rewards I got from my experiences in programming were absolutely phenomenal. I learned how to problem-solve better than ever after learning Object Oriented Programming. I think the years of programming experience sharpened my reasoning skills. It really shows with trouble-shooting. During my internship I would solve complex problems related to IT and fix things that were way beyond my experience. I even did Networking. I previously had no experience with Networking beyond home-networking-related setup and troubleshooting before the internship. I actually had to reset servers, set up network-based antiviral systems, and debug really complicated network issues related to workstations and practice management sofware. People would comment on how IT-related problems that seemed brain-racking to them were a piece of cake for me after all those years of trouble-shooting and tackling difficult problems. My mother would joke “all you have to do is come over to my computer and it will start working again.”

If only I could have gotten more sleep, I think that would have helped the debugging process quite a bit. lol