Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guess which one I am

I am the IT analog of the 1950's shop mechanic.  I keep the wheels on, make improvements, and just in general figure things out.  The guys who were under muscle cars back in the 1960's and 1970's?  Their kids are sysads.  I'm mildly interested in the design and manufacture of the code and hardware that I work with, but for the most part I care about how much performance I can squeeze out of them and how well I can keep them working.  "I void warranties" is my profession's mantra.  I write scripts to make my life easier, but make them as simple as I can so I don't have to continually figure them out and fix them.  Contrast me to the programmer who takes joy from how beautifully her source code reads, as if it was poetry.  She may be Shakespeare or Bacon, but I'm the guy who figures out how to build the stage the actors use to put on her masterpiece.

My brethren database and network administrators work hard in their own realms to make the semi-fantasy world of pure programmers and computer scientists interface efficiently with the real world.  We are the tired voice at the end of the cell phone link at 3 AM when something breaks.  In another life, we would be the guy in the greasy coveralls who climbs all over the engine to figure out why the train doesn't move. We share a proud lineage that goes all the way back to the armorers in Caesars legions who kept the onagers kicking, the smiths who built and fixed the Antikythera mechanism for some unknown genius, and the mechanics who kept the T-34's running in the field for Marshall Zhukov.  

H/T to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal for the inspiration.

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