Subcultures of the Internet – Programmers

Recently, I have ben trying to teach myself some coding languages.  I took a few weeks of C++ and used Matlab in high school, but the most I could do by the end of the year was create a few shapes or a graph, and maybe a button or two appear on the screen.  But because of the research I have been doing, I have realized how important it is that anybody who uses a computer understands at least a bit of what they are doing.

Programmers are a very special group of computer users.  Their entire career depends on the internet, and the computers used to access it.  Don’t get me wrong, the Internet is only a small part of a programmer’s life, but it is the major method by which their “products” – namely software – are spread.  Programmers know how the internet works.  Better than any of the casual computer users, who basically skim the surface of their computer’s capability, programmers delve into the coding and machinations of their computers, often building their own computer from parts (gamers do this as well) in order to optimize speed or performance.

The programmer culture is very logical and precise, because the computer languages are just as demanding.  Of all the other cultures, programmers are the only with their own unique language, or in reality plural languages.  Programmers use these languages to create programs which enable them to better utilize their computers, to get the most efficiency out of what they are trying to do.  There are jokes within the culture that a programmer would rather spend hours creating a program to organize a set of files than to spend fifteen minutes and organize them manually, because “next time, I can just run the program”

One specific examples pop into my head: when I think of programmers, I think of video game programmers, who create and modify computer games.  These programmers include many gamers, obviously, and the two groups are interdependent. For example, Minecraft, a computer game, was created by a programmer name Markus Persson, who calls himself Notch (It is extremely common, in many ways expected, for both the gamer and programmer culture, along with some others, to create a pseudonym which you then use any time you go online).  Notch created Minecraft on a whim, posting a video of a world-generation program he created on Youtube, and after a large amount of interest, developed his program into a game which today has one 25 million players.  He has a small staff still, and remains in close contact with his community, in what many would regard as the optimal position as a programmer.

Notch represents to me the typical programmer.  He created his program on a whim, and thrives on his creation.  Creation is a key trait which separates programmers from hackers.  The programming culture is constantly creating, whether they are editing and streamlining existing code or starting from scratch and creating a completely new program.  Programmers are often gamers, because of a shared obsession with computers and programs required in both cultures.

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