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That's something I find strange myself about the odd smug-superior vibe I get from some of the HN crowd (and silicon-valley types more generally), and I am a computer scientist with a good job. I didn't really pick computer science out of any sort of great foresight that CS would be in demand, or that this is the skillset I need to acquire to benefit society, or anything of that sort.

It's just what I was doing and good at since the days when I was 7 or 8 writing BASIC on my Apple //c. Other people at the same age, and up through high school (when I was still doing computer stuff in my spare time) happened to be really good at all sorts of other things, whether drawing or pottery or ancient history or learning foreign languages or carpentry, and at the time I certainly didn't see their skills as less important. Mine just turned out to be more commercially relevant, essentially through no skill or doing of my own. (If you had asked me as an 8-year-old to guess, I would've probably told you that carpentry and pottery were more practical skills than programming games on an Apple ][ was; I did the latter because it was fun.)

So I find the "screw other people, they should've picked a marketable skill" view weird, because I certainly didn't pick a marketable skill, and I think a lot of other techie types didn't either. I just got lucky that the thing I like turned out to be marketable. If it hadn't, I'd be struggling along doing something else I wasn't as good at, I guess, or trying to get one of the few meagre CS jobs. Or actually, it doesn't seem too unlikely that I'd be working as a waiter or coffee server or something as a day job to make ends meet, to support hacking in the evening. So the "struggling artist" types don't seem that foreign to me--- I just have the good fortune to have an art that pays.




I can only speak for myself, not others. But I know I've posted things here that if you read them too quickly might look like "Screw them, they should have gotten marketable skills." But that's not how I feel, and careful reading of at least what I have posted would reveal that I am angry at the number of people who told children to just follow their dreams and everything will be fine, and angry at the society that happily slapped them in debt to do it.

Yeah, I dodged that bullet (so far). But I'm surrounded by people who didn't.

And I've started raking people over the coals online who continue to propagate the "just follow your bliss" meme. I suggest everyone join me. This is one meme that needs to die.

(My counter-argument is that most people like more than one thing, there's more than one thing they can do for a living without wanting to die. Are none of them an actually useful skill? All the engineering fields, all the science fields, all the medical fields, all the trades, and you have to pick French Literature of the 1600s? Or in this story, political science? WTF do you do with a degree in political science and no pre-existing "connections"? And you know, look at that list I made, expand it out, you'll see that I'm not calling for everyone to be supergeniuses. Physicians assistant, decent plumber, a variety of technicians, we need them all and you don't have to be 130IQ to get there, just willing to work. (And not actively stupid, but honestly, that's not the problem most people have.))


> It's just what I was doing and good at since the days when I was 7 or 8 writing BASIC on my Apple //c.

change that to age 10 and the ][+ and you just described how I got started with computers too. CALL-151 for the win! :)




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