We, software engineers, are very lucky nowadays. Technology is evolving so fast that we are very needed. Companies desperately need engineers to build products, so we are in a position where we can literally choose where we want to work. If we are not happy with our position we just quit because we are confident that another company will have a position for us. My mother can’t wrap her head around this, how is it possible that you, engineers, change companies that often?
This fact made me think a lot. By having so many opportunities around us it is easy to let our ambition drive us. We start working on small projects, and we leverage those opportunities to grow and level up in our professional career. Things move fast, and our dream to work for a company like Facebook or get a salary with a bunch of zeros seems closer and closer. It’s quite easy to lose the focus, and believe that we have special powers that need to be appreciated, if not, we just find someone who will do it, because there’s a lot of demand out there.
We are not superheroes though, we are people with the ability to model problems with software. Having so many opportunities nowadays might lead us to think that we are special. We need to keep our feet on the floor, be humble, and human. We are just fortunate people and we should be grateful for that. The technology gave us this opportunity but we might get displaced in the future by anything new that comes up. It’s easy to let our ego speak for us in this situation, but controlling it will make us more professional.
In my short career, I’ve come across other “professional” engineers with superhero skills, whose ego spoke for themselves. People that steer the conversations and their interactions toward making them feel more important and proving themselves more necessary than ever. It’s hard to approach them contrasting their ideas because theirs have already been widely accepted by the people around them. “How do you dare to say that?” They think. Hypocrisy is usually another trait that manifests, proving them to be human and ego-free people when in reality it’s just a facade, it’s just way to feed the ego. Whether we have super-powers or not, I think we shouldn’t forget who we are, and where we came from. The technology revolution enabled us, engineers, to build stuff and get well paid for that. Without technology, these “first world problems” as someone described on Twitter, wouldn’t be making us less human than ever.
Moreover, not everything in this world is about technology and engineering. There are no engineers without teachers that awake curiosity on children’s minds, nor good digital products without translators that make those products accessible. I’ve seen threads questioning the value of education in Universities, since everything you can be taught about is online, or questioning the importance of a human translation since there are tools like Google Translate that can provide an acceptable translation, enough to share your message.
I firmly believe that we shouldn’t underestimate our analog world and the people that make it possible. Technology is pushing hard to make us think that everything can be solved with technology and that we don’t need the analog side of things anymore. In this world, where technology is distancing more and more human interactions, we need a technology-free world, where connections between people are more genuine and warmer. A world where we really care about people and the world, rather than “making this world a better place”.
Whether we are an engineer or not, we should all find time to reflect on these things: see where we are, how we came there, what enabled us to be where we are and appreciate everything around us. We’ll sometimes find our ego speaking for us, but having awareness we’ll be able to fight it back and speak in its name instead. We should step aside from technology quite often, and look at our life from a refreshing perspective.
Stay human and humble!
I hope you have a great weekend and change your time tonight if you have to in your country ⌚️.