Thursday, 22 January 2015

Week 3: Why Geeks Should Write

When you think about computer scientists, the first thing that pops up into your mind might be geeks programming in java all day long on their advanced gaming Lenovo laptops. Now it must be a given that these geeks must probably be pretty good at math and sciences, right? But what about English, which is generally a humanities subject and seemingly unrelated to Computer Science? Chances are, we computer scientists are probably not that great at writing or just English in general (if you are, then kudos to you because writing SLOGS probably comes naturally to you). I know that I was terrible in English no matter how hard I tried, I just could never grasp the importance of using metaphors and alliterations to grab the readers attention. Because lets be honest here; no matter how many literary devices Shakespeare uses, most of us would probably never read his plays if we weren't forced to in high school.

Now at this point you are probably confused as to why on earth my topic is titled 'Why Geeks Should Write' if I believe that writing is probably not the strongest asset of a programmer. To be frank; because computer scientists are not good at writing and expressing their thoughts in words, they should write more so that their writing skills can improve! I am a strong believer in the philosophy of 'practice-makes-perfect'. So while practise may not make you perfect at writing because we all have strengths and weaknesses, if you are able to improve your weakness then thats much more valuable than a person with amazing strengths but big shortcomings.

What might be some advantages of geeks writing? The advantages are endless! Writing is used in everyday life whether you are a student, a worker in your forties or even retired. To get a good job, no matter how many programming languages you might know, it all comes down to whether you can woo the employers with your writing skills on that cover letter for Google. Moral of the story: writing is good for geeks even though we may hate it, so get going and start working on those metaphors you think of when walking to CSC148 on College Street!


  1. I've had a lot of similar thoughts about the importance of writing well in computer science.

    However, I would also emphasize the importance of understanding what it means to actually "write well". You seem to share the same intuition as me in that, for programmers, a writing well means to write clearly and unambiguously. But obviously this is only in a pragmatic context. Many poets, for instance, aim to make their writing extremely ambiguous, and thus capable of multiple interpretations. So it seems as though the context dictates what it means to write well- and by extension, how to practice writing well. Because writing skills in the context of, say, poetry class, isn't necessarily transferable to a more pragmatic type of writing.

    1. I completely agree with you on that Andrew. I must say that when I was writing this, that thought completely went skipped my mind because I was so focused on making my blog interesting to read :$
      Obviously when describing a concept in computer science like an abstract data type you can't just be ambiguous and say its too intangible of a topic to explain. You have to use clear and logical sentences to explain conceptual topics in subjects such as programming, math and physics. Thank you for pointing that out!