Sep 28 2013

There are obviously a lot of factors that have contributed to my career as a programmer, but I think the most important one can be summed up in this sentence: Keep Saturdays sacred.

You see, in college, my friends and I were moderately obsessed with writing software. We sorta stumbled onto a tradition of making sure that every Saturday, we got together and wrote code. At some point, we realized that this was the formula:

  1. If none of us set our alarms, we’d all wander into the computer lab at 1pm Saturday.
  2. We then went and got some burritos from Chipotle.
  3. Once we were appropriately stuffed, we’d go back to the lab and hack on whatever.
  4. In our town, food was half off at certain restaurants after 11pm. So we’d code until then, and then go get some food, and then go home later.

Many people sifted in and out of this group over time, but a core was always there. Every week. For two or three years. I was one of those people.

Looking back, I think that time was where I grew the most as a software developer. I’ve been coding since I was very young, but didn’t really know what I was doing until that point. It’s where I tried out new stuff. Argued about methodology. Learned something about something.

We weren’t even always working on the same projects. They were often quite different, and changed all the time. But it was a safe place to try things, a safe space to fail. A place to get support and help. To socialize and figure out just what the hell we were even doing.

It was also an incredible privilege. Over the last few years, I’ve been too busy to keep that going. Life gets in the way. It’s hard when you don’t have that group. Maybe the solution, then, isn’t that it’s all day on a Saturday. Maybe it’s just finding some kind of gap time, but doing it every week.

Today, I’m doing work on and the Rust compiler. What about you?