Throughout my life, I have grown to not fear many things. I am not scared of getting sick, of driving, of getting hurt, of being alone, or even flying. But…everyone is scared of something. As for me, I am scared of giving up.
I finished my degree in Computer Science roughly a year ago [in 2014]. Since then, I have been doing my part to the greater CS community as a whole by working as a Software Engineer. In that year, I have grown to do many things. I have developed massive applications that some students only dream of doing. I made web pages that are being visiting by thousands of people each day. And yet, I am worried by a subtle behavior that seems to infect the majority of people in my community. A behavior that maybe for some was a decision. And perhaps for others, it was a realization. Something I have come to call:
Acceptance of Defeat
Now do not get me wrong. I am not saying that this is merely a small thing. I am saying that this itself is a soul-crushing defeat. A Career-defining “end-game” move that places most people in the dust. If Software Engineering was a game of chess, then this move was Checkmate.
An Acceptance of Defeat can come in a variety of flavors. I have seen it happen when applications become so large that merely the task of maintaining the app is a job itself. And as so, the developer quickly loses drive and is solely dedicated to managing it…
At that point, defeat has nestled into his very soul as a developer. His driving force to do that which we do well is now gone. We are Computer Scientists. We are the few but many who strive to change the world. WE are the ones who write the apps that help you communicate with loved ones. WE are the ones who write the ticket websites to help you buy those Ed Sheeran tickets you wanted. WE are the ones who help you find out where to buy those shoes because OTHER PEOPLE have reviewed it. And we are the ones who wrote the software for that kidney dialysis machine that is keeping many people alive today who are on a transplant list.
Never lose sight of why we are scientists. We were born to make discoveries and make miracles happen. We do it every day. Writing code and developing algorithms for even the most minuscule of problems is nothing less than the dream of Alan Turing's life goal for a universal machine.
Humanity’s greatest achievements were made by those who dared and those who tried. You may choose to accept defeat but I shall never do no such thing. I will always choose to be a maker. I will choose to be a programmer. I will choose to be a scientist. I will choose to change the world. So Earth, I implore you, challenge with your best and throw me at your worst. I will always come out and triumph because my biggest fear shall now become my strongest form of strength.
I am a Computer Scientist. And I will never accept defeat.