Writing 01: Identity

As we discussed in class, there is an expectation in the computer science community that programmers should be passionate about programming. While I understand the basis for this stereotype, I reject that every programmer has to be passionate about the process of coding. To be a good programmer, you should be passionate about the outcome or cause your work is aiming towards. The zeal should come from loving what you are creating and how you are helping the world. Another stereotype of those in computing is their personality and appearance. From Hollywood, media, and social perception, the programmer is portrayed as one who is very anti-social, doesn’t care about their appearance hence resorting to the classic ‘hoodie’, aren’t interested in subjects outside of programming, and are obsessed with coding every minute of every day. Personally, I reject all of these stereotypes. I find myself to really enjoy being around others and working together. I don’t think I own a drawstring hoodie and normally put effort in my appearance in both casual and professional life. While I enjoy programming, I am passionate about many other disciplines such as Philosophy(aka my minor), English, Politics, Business etc. Finally, I certainly do not spend every waking moment of my life yearning to program or get my hands on a keyboard. Regarding the two points about being anti-social and not interested in other disciplines, I feel these are attributes that better programmers reject. For example, when a programmer is social and collaborative, against the norm, they will generate new ideas and likely be more productive in a team setting. Further, when a programmer considers disciplines outside their own, they have a greater perspective of their project and purpose. 

A degree from Notre Dame is packaged with many stereotypes as well. Notre Dame has the basic student stereo-types such as being from a suburb of a suburb of Chicago, loving football, being a “good” person, being catholic, holding the door open for people, having 30 siblings, and wanting to make a positive difference in the world. I certainly manifest a love for football, attempting to be a good person and wanting to make a positive difference in this world. However, being from Southern California, having one sibling, and being Lutheran, I definitely don’t check every box for the description. Regarding the engineering student and more specifically computer science student, Notre Dame has a different stereotype than most schools. Given that we have the First-Year of studies, Notre Dame students are designed differently, designed to think broadly, about others, and long term. I know there is a large debate within engineering regarding the First-Year of studies. There are cons given that engineers are a year behind most other universities regarding jobs and internships. However, I am a huge advocate for the first year and the requirements we must take because it forces students to really consider what they want to do and what they want their lives to be. These courses not only contribute to personal discernment, but also enable students to be well-versed in a variety of topics. One of the most notable words an employer said to me regarding Notre Dame engineers was that “we hire Notre Dame engineers to manage the rest of the engineers.” I think this conversation really explains the expectation from Notre Dame CS students when they graduate: not only to have the skills to be a great developer but a phenomenal leader too.


Katherine Hecht