Engineering used to be fun

Melchor Tatlonghari

It used to be about building cool things, solving complex problems, and pushing boundaries. But now, it feels like there’s a never-ending wave of new web frameworks, each with its own set of abstractions. Being an engineer today means being a jack of all trades, constantly learning new programming languages and adapting to different paradigms. It’s about migrating applications from one cloud provider to another, from monoliths to microservices, and now even to serverless architectures. And let’s not forget the insatiable appetite for showing off GitHub commits. On top of all this, the introduction of AI has added a new layer of complexity, leaving us debugging spaghetti code that the AI spits out.

Photo by Martin W. Kirst on Unsplash
The Never-Ending Web Frameworks
Web frameworks seem to multiply at an alarming rate. Just when you think you’ve mastered one, another emerges, promising to make your life even easier. But with each new framework comes a new set of abstractions, making it harder to understand what’s happening under the hood. Engineering has become a constant struggle to keep up with these evolving technologies. The days of writing simple loops and managing state have been replaced by layers upon layers of abstractions that can be difficult to comprehend.

Becoming a Jack of All Trades
Gone are the days when engineers could specialize in one programming language or domain. Today, being successful in the field means being versatile and adaptable. Whether it’s learning the trendy new language that promises to be the next big thing or diving into a different paradigm, engineers must constantly expand their skill set. It’s no longer enough to be proficient in just one language; you must know the ins and outs of several languages to stay competitive.

Migrating in an Ever-Changing Landscape
With the rise of cloud computing, engineers are faced with the task of migrating applications from one cloud provider to another. The decision to move from monolith architectures to microservices and now to serverless architectures adds another layer of complexity. Just as engineers get comfortable with one approach, the industry shifts again, and they are forced to adapt. It’s a never-ending cycle, with no guarantees that the next migration won’t be just around the corner.

The GitHub Commit Game
In the world of software engineering, committing code to GitHub has become somewhat of a competition. The number of commits you make is seen as a measure of productivity and dedication. It’s a game of who can push the most code, rather than who can write the most efficient and elegant solutions. While version control is crucial, the emphasis on quantity over quality can lead to rushed and poorly thought-out code.

Debugging the AI’s Spaghetti Code
As if the challenges mentioned above weren’t enough, engineers now find themselves grappling with AI. While AI can be a powerful tool, it often churns out spaghetti code that can be difficult to decipher and debug. It’s a constant battle to tame the AI’s output and make it work within the existing codebase. Debugging complex AI systems requires a deep understanding of both the underlying algorithms and the specific language being used. It’s a whole new level of complexity that engineers must face.

Closing Thoughts
Engineering may not be as fun as it once was, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. It’s a constant race to keep up with the ever-evolving technologies, frameworks, and paradigms. As the industry becomes more complex, engineers must adapt and expand their skill set to stay relevant. Despite the challenges, engineering still offers the opportunity to solve complex problems and build amazing things. So, while it may not be as fun as it once was, the passion and drive to create continue to fuel engineers in their pursuit of innovation.