Cheating Decline: Acting Now to Let You Program Well for a Really Long Time

By Brian Marick

Programming, like mathematics, is often seen as a young person's game. Old programmers are supposed to “graduate” to become managers (so they can spend their time in meetings), architects (so they can spend their time in meetings about diagrams), or redundant (so they can go away and be forgotten). This talk is for programmers, young and old, who want to spend their time cranking out code until someone pries their cold dead fingers from the keyboard.

The talk will have two parts. The first will be summarized knowledge from successful old programmers and the people who work with them. The second will look at how, specifically, programmers decline, and it will contrast classical views about what programmers do with some of the claims of ecological (or embodied) cognitive science. If we consider ourselves animals acting in a world, rather than “brains in a vat” cogitating away, we can learn how to compensate for the inevitable.