Andy McKay

May 21, 2008

End of programming?

For the past few years my fingers have gotten slowly worse from typing so much day in day out. By the end of some days they will ache. I used to go white water kayaking but found with increasing regularity that I was dropping the paddle. I just couldn't get a grip on the paddle anymore. Cycling was fine, but I found that going doing a big hill in cold air would cause pain in my fingers.

Recently I've been working on a project 9-5 (well more than that) that isn't technically challenging but involves writing large amounts of mostly repetitive code. By the end of the day now my fingers hurt and my wrist will start to ache. Scarier than anything the last few days I've woken up in the morning with numb hands, pins and needles in my fingers. At 6.30am as I write this, my fingers ache.

I'm currently looking at where I will be in five years with my fingers and I have to say it isn't looking pretty. I've known my time as programmer was limited and waning (alright I've never been a good programmer, before any wags get at me) but I know my ability to do a lot of typing is coming to a rapid end.

I've installed AntiRSI and off to visit the doctor. In some ways there's some positives to come out of this.

Writing code has never been my skill and this will force me to get away from it. This is something I've known for a while, but quantifying my skill in "getting stuff done" and figuring out where I slot into organisations is a challenge.

Knowing there's a limited amount of time to write code means I have to focus purely on paying the bills. In six months or so I'll be heading back to Canada. There i'll be on my second startup and getting ready for that has been focusing my brain on paying the bills as well. The downside is that my open source work is dropping off to nothing.

But I have to admit I'm quite scared, it feels like I'm sacrificing my future to current work. Essentially I'm scared that my current livelihood looks like it's coming to a rapid end. Time to change.