Pretentious series: 7 things I learnt about life from my one-sided relationship with Software Engineering

Hasit Bhatt
5 min readJul 23, 2019
Photo Courtesy: Pexels

Think long term, but solve for the present.

I think if you’re from the same background, you’d have heard the word over-engineering or overfitting (Data Science). I read as many articles and blogs on best engineering practices, new technologies, how to write good code before joining the first company. And, I worked on something where I didn’t need to use any new technology, the only best practices I could use was “Write tests”. But, once I got a chance to design something, I made sure I use all the knowledge that was left from what I had read a few months back, and I came up with such a generic solution, that it could be used to solve global warming ( Just kidding!! ). But the code that needs to be written to make it generic enough was not worth it, and eventually, we (if it were to me, I’d probably still be coding that generic solution) went with a bit specific approach, which I didn’t like at that time, but appreciate it now.

Life is similar, you need to know what you want from it, but you should try to solve the problem in hand, and not try to spend days/ months to solve it.

Example: I don’t like passive smoking, a permanent solution would be to get it banned in every country I live in, or am planning to visit. So I just don’t go outside. Problem solved!!!

There are things you can’t learn without experiencing it! (Cliche ^ infinite)

In the first few months, I have seen people designing things, managing work, keeping work-life balance which I never thought how one can do it ( I still do wonder about few things till this very day )! I used to ask them how could they manage it, or how could I achieve that state. And some tried to explain while some straight away mentioned it’ll come automatically with time.

In childhood, I always worried about how I would do stuff that looked scary, like a stereotypical office job, staying away from family, surviving in other country and lot other things which don’t look like a big deal now. So, some things get sorted when you become capable of doing it.

Example: In my childhood, my parents tried to keep me away from dry iron, but words weren’t enough for me to avoid that adventure. I was touched by what happened next.

If you keep doing what is needed from you, you may regret it later.

I’ve seen different types of people, people who ideate-start their own projects, people who complete the given new projects and some who feel they do what is needed to be done (mostly not so interesting work).

You sometimes feel people want you to behave / progress in a certain way. Be it family, friends or society. But in most of the cases, it’s just you thinking what they expect from you and not really them expecting anything, they’re busy enough with their own life.

Example: In school, I used to be very regular in completing homework except for one particular subject. One lucky day, I didn’t get caught though I hadn’t done any homework. So, when madam went to attend an emergency call, I went outside and sat with students who were completing their homework. Because that’s what I thought I needed to do. A few minutes later, my cheeks were competing with tomatoes.

There are different types of people with different background, and almost everyone is right in their perspective.

In the first few days/months, I used to feel like many people in the industry are shallow. When they help others they advertise it or let managers know or things like that. Then some may just deny help on your face, and some would just ignore your existence. But, eventually, I understood the reason. People have their regular work to do, and their deliverables, their concentration on the work they are doing may get affected in doing so. Hence, some choose to help and let others know, some deny help and some have mastered the art of ignoring your existence. One may feel batch processing is the best way to go whereas others can argue streaming is a better approach.

Life is similar. Some feel you don’t matter against the life goals they’re trying to achieve and may choose to ignore your existence, some help and make sure you and everybody around them know how they helped (or tried to help) you. Some may not understand or care about your opinion. Some neighbours probably don’t even know you exist. Some have their beliefs that don’t match with yours, but if you dig deep, they do have their own reasons.

Example: In an exam which I did not fail (miserably!), I was thinking the answer is C, my friend had a hunch the answer is D. I had full confidence in my friend, hence I ticked D. He ticked C. Both got that answer wrong, eventually, we figured the options were jumbled in different papers. In short, we both were right but still got that one wrong.

There’s no single right solution.

Every design/choice has its own pros and cons. You can’t have just the pros of a given architecture. You get its limitations along, too. But, if it works for your specific use case, it’s almost the right solution for you. If something doesn’t work, only you’re responsible for it. And, you can always re-architect or re-do things, but it has its own cost.

It’s same with choosing your field of study, occupation, partner, way of life or any choice in life for that matter.

Everybody leaves.

No matter how much a person loves the job, the challenges. At some point in time, they will leave the company. Probably that’s the reason people suggest that if you’re staying somewhere just because a specific person or two are there, you might as well change the company. Because eventually, they will. But the point is to cherish the company of the person if you love it, ignore if you don’t, learn as much as you can before they leave.

I think this doesn’t require analogy. To quote Greg House, Everybody lies and dies (not a causal thing).

Example: Even Iron man left us! Unless …

In the end, nothing matters.

The project(s) you’ve been working on, for which you lost your time, your health and whatnot, will probably die before you do.

Some people say they want to achieve immortality by the work, creativity or relations they will leave behind. But, even that won’t last forever.

Example: Chill!! you won’t live to see this happening!!! ;)

Note: If any of the points seem to be true, please don’t consider it as a mere coincidence, it’s intended! But if not, consider it as an attempt for humour (probably of bad taste).

It’s not a personal account of mine, some or all of the anecdotes are completely made up or borrowed from the people whom I’ve talked with.