Thinking about my place in IT

by trdunsworth

Even though I’m a programmer by trade and I’m continuing my education, I still have never answered the final question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think that I have avoided it because I never quite feel at home in most of the worlds in which I walk. That’s a long story for another blog though.

Last night before class started, I was speaking with one of my classmates and we got into various discussions about different languages and how we’re both interested in learning as much as we can about various languages. I never asked him his reasons for this, but I did notice that mine started making sense in a different way.

My original college degree, way back when, is in Linguistics. I entered that field because I was fascinated by language, what it could do, what it does do, and how it works in general. At one point, I wanted to return to college and complete a PhD in Linguistics and become a professor. Life seems to have gotten in the way of that, but I may have a way to stay involved in two fields I love and eventually find a way to make a living at it.

Enter the notion of a “Compu-linguist”; a linguist who specializes in studying computer programming languages, their syntax, morphology, etc. and also studies how languages are acquired by programmers, how languages relate to one another, etc. In effect, treating programming languages no different from other constructed languages or “conlangs” such as Esperanto, Loglan, Klingon, etc.

The reality is that even though programmers from around the world may have challenges in communication through natural human languages, they all certainly can communicate through their code in those languages they choose to use.  There are so many avenues and I know that I can’t be the first to have thought of it, but maybe I can start making it a specialty by taking the linguistics training I’ve had for years and applying it to the world in which I am currently living.

I may have found my niche after all and maybe just answered the last question about what I want to be when I grow up…..