Stack OverflowWhat's your biggest fear as a programmer?
[+66] [99] John Isaacks
[2010-07-27 19:30:01]
[ fun ]

Although this post is preserved for historical reasons, today it is considered off-topic everywhere in the SE network, because it is a "Getting to Know You" poll question. Enjoy this post, but do not cite it as proof that you can ask similar questions.

More info here:

Please note I am NOT looking for answers like


well I guess depending on the context that could be an acceptable answer.. But you know what I mean.

I am looking for answers like

"I cannot keep up with an ever changing field"


"That my data gets hacked"

Actual fears that developers have to deal with.

Community Wiki or bust! - Jaymz
@Jaymz I already fixed it.. just forgot to hit the check before I posted. - John Isaacks
(48) Biggest fears: 1) Commitment 2) Dying alone 3) Catch 22's. - Jon B
(25) I dont think that "Biggest Fear" and fun label is a good choice..... - Tom
@Tom you may be right, I though about adding the "Fear" tag but wasnt sure how useful introducing that tag would be. - John Isaacks
(2) I really don't think a question asking about people's fears would lead to "confrontation and argument" since they are posting their own fears and not anyone else's. - John Isaacks
(2) There was a proposal for a close reason for "list of 'x'". This would fit that description. - Jon B
(28) How come nobody is afraid to have production system down with lots of users running through the hall, screaming and pulling their hair in desparation while a a number of managers and VP's are behind your back saying: "It is running now? Now? What about now? Is it working yet?, is it working? ... ISS IITT WOOOOORRKIIIINGG???!!!!?...." - OscarRyz
(3) @OscarRyz No point in fearing what happens all too frequently... :-) - Brian Knoblauch
(1) @OscarRyz - I've been working in mission critical systems so long that I worry about the day I stop worrying about that :P - BenAlabaster
(3) @Brian thats like saying Californians shouldn't fear earthquakes :) - John Isaacks
(31) Sometimes i think that too many questions are being closed on SO which do not deserve it. - PeterK
(6) The reason for closing this question is nonsense. It's perfectly obvious what's being asked. - Mike Burton
(11) The question is not being closed because people don't know what it is asking. It is being closed because it is not the kind of question that SO is intended for, and we want to keep the site useful and clutter-free. - danben
@John According to my California friends, they don't fear earthquakes anymore... - Brian Knoblauch
@Brian haha .. not even "the big one"? - John Isaacks
(33) I don't want to name names, but if this exact question was asked by a select few; I bet nobody would be voting to close it. Seems like a double standard. - John Isaacks
(8) @John, you may rest assured that I didn't even look to see who had asked this before voting to close. - dmckee
@PeterK, @Issacks: Simplest answer is to cast your Reopen vote after the question is closed. That's what I end up doing for the ones I think should stick around. - John K
@danben - the reason listed at the time of my comment for closing was that the question was not a real question ie too vague or otherwise impossible to answer. While the FAQ indicates that subjective questions are to be discouraged, community practice over the last year or so has borne out the fact that subjective questions are valuable and popular. As long as the question is wiki'd there is almost never an issue with this type of question, so why act to close it? - Mike Burton
(7) I vote to close it, because this is off topic ( I consider StackOverflow for answers that involve actual coding - you know an editor, a compiler/interpreter etc. ) Vote here to create a "programmer related" Q&A site: - OscarRyz
And it's OPEN again! - James
(1) The question is not ambiguous, nor is it vague, it is not incomplete, and it is not rhetorical. It does not meet any of the criteria that would qualify it for the reason it is being closed. - AaronLS
(4) The low quality of many of the top answers supports closing this question (the first answer is good, though). - Jon B
(1) @Jon B i think that the question is worth keeping if only for the top answer, the ethical implications it alludes to are pretty relevant to how i perform my job. - James
(4) @John Isaacks: Of course it seems like a double standard when you construct it to be one. You can create a straw-man argument that makes it seem like anything you want. - Bill the Lizard
(7) There should be a badge for having a question reopened multiple times. Call it the Controversial Question badge. - Jack
(7) @John The people you're referring to wouldn't ask a question like this in the first place - Michael Mrozek
(2) @John B - this is not specific to you but the mods at SO really need to take a chill, a coders life aint all about problems, sometimes its nice to have a little chat about these sorts of things with other developers, I am soo sick of 'interesting/fun' questions being closed, these are sometimes the more memorable threads, so please for once let us have some fun for god-sake! eg. PHP vs ASP.NET - "question closed because the answer might provide controversy"...... so what if it gets a little heated, its entertaining to read/participate it and let the reader make up their own mind... CHILL OUT. - Dal
I certainly believe that SO can trigger discussions that contain a goldmine of useful information. It's a shame that most questions are closed as a result. This question might be silly or vague, and the answers may be obvious, but some of the comments are very interesting. It shows there are other people with a similar switched-on mentality to your own. My greatest fear is working with people that aren't like the ones on this site, friendly, knowledgable, open to discussion and idea sharing, and prone to insert links to xkcd where relevent:) - SLC
(6) @Dal, SLC -- We've had to go over this with people so many times it's starting to make my head hurt. There's nothing wrong with these questions, and they are indeed entertaining, but they're not what SO is about, which is why there is a close reason specifically for subjective questions. Why can't you just post them on a site that's designed for discussions, and leave SO for actual questions? - Michael Mrozek
(2) @Michael Mrozek - because SO attracts some of the best developers on the planet, seriously. Go to ASP.NET forums, sure you'll get your answers but SO just has a 'community' feel. There are plenty of active questions on SO, but there are also some 'questions' that mods perceive as argumentative and automatically close them. I want these discussion on here because I like what this community has to say, SO has a great base of dev knowledge than any other site I have used. - Dal
(8) @Dal And do you think SO having a community of awesome developers might have something to do with SO being different from those other sites? There's a reason they hang out here and not on the ASP.NET forums, and people trying to make them the same is not a good idea. This is the reason I pretty much stopped reading proggit, it stopped being links to interesting programming topics and turned into place to spam links about anything computer-related -- communities should be about one thing and stick to it, not try to incorporate every other topic. This community is about programming questions - Michael Mrozek
(1) @Michael Mrozek - we will probably never agree with this, but you have to understand that I am referring to previous threads which have made it up to around three pages before being closed down. Posts include members from all experiences 1k+ SO points making the discussion very interesting. You see in typical 'argumentative' cases one poster will place an argument and another would counter it very well. these discussions didn't turn into petty words of dribble, they are well thought out... its just a shame that it then gets locked... SO has a great community suited to discussions as well. - Dal
(6) @Dal Previous threads have made it up to dozens of pages, but I don't think that makes them good; this is the bike shed problem where people are excited to answer because there is no wrong answer, so the number of answers on the post explodes. I'd rather this stuff went to an SE site like this one so those of us with no interest in it don't need to wade through them to find the real questions - Michael Mrozek
(5) Isn't it ironic that we close questions like this out to prevent arguing and the only thing we are bickering about is whether or not to close it? - John Isaacks
(3) @John Isaacks: its just something you end up having to live with... I use every reopen vote i can to counter the close nuts. - RCIX
(4) Some people, upon seeing someone picking up trash next to the highway while out driving, feel compelled to grab whatever trash they might have with them in their vehicle and hurl it out the window. I've seen it; it's sad. But no doubt they think they're helping... - Shog9
(3) @Shog9 And some people, upon seeing others asking a subjective question, find that a reflex has issued a close vote and a comment of "stack overflow is not for anything that is not a strict question". I've seen it; it's sad. But no doubt they feel like they're helping the community... - RCIX
(5) Stack Overflow rocks. It's a great Q & A site. But it's not meant for discussions, and any attempt to have discussions dilutes its purpose. I realize you like it (I do too!) but it's not 'everything to everybody' and that's why it works. - George Stocker
(6) Let's apply the Atwood fun question test : 1) Does this question match the criteria provided in the FAQ? No. 2) Is this question accepted by the community? Yes, the Reddit-loving part of the community. 3) Does this question teach me anything that could make me better at my job? Can I learn something from it? No, it's just a place for people to whine about things they don't like. Results: it only passes 1 out of 3, so ditch it. - gnovice
(5) You guys really seem to think we sit around laughing maniacally and shrieking "FUN? On MY WEBSITE?!?" as we close all the questions that make you happy -- I promise we don't. Well, most of us don't. We also don't have secret weekly meetings to decide which questions we're going to gang up on -- there is no conspiracy against you. We've just been through this on enough communities to know what happens if we let this stuff go, and would prefer it not happen to SO too. It's not a coincidence that the average rep of the closers is 3x the average rep of the reopeners; we've been through this before - Michael Mrozek
@Michael Mrozek: Are you sure about that? Cuz I thought I heard a lot of cackling about something last I walked past... ;) - FrustratedWithFormsDesigner
(3) I gotta tell ya @Will, I don't think Protection does anything useful. - George Stocker
It seemed like he meant to lock it and did the wrong thing by mistake - Michael Mrozek
@George Its a compromise; @Michael no I didn't. I'm kinda hoping you guys will get bored and move on. There is no satisfactory end to this war. Only pestilence and deprivation lies this way. - Will
I actually don't mind if it gets closed anymore. I like the humor answers and I expected to get a fair share, but I was more hoping to see what serious fears I had in common with others to either validate or debunk them. I think my personal biggest fear is that I'll never reach the skill level that I aspire to and that I will realize I am not as intelligent as I hoped/thought I was. - John Isaacks
@Michael, @Shog, @gnovice, @George: it sure seems like it. If anyone asks a subjective question, even if it's a good one, then it immediately starts racking up close votes because it "doesn't belong on the site as per the faq". There then has to be a micro-war over it because the close nazis insist on hammering these questions. I know of one person who does this, and i won't name names, but his name starts with a g and ends with a novice. I understand that you don't want this community to go the way of reddit/digg/slashdot/etc., but do you have to be so hard-headed about close-voting? - RCIX
@John Isaacks: I voted to reopen this thing (may be useful to "somebody"), but, you know, asking someone to tell their fear isn't exactly nice. Some fears are personal stuff... - SigTerm
@RCIX: " but do you have to be so hard-headed about close-voting?" You're wasting your time. Reasoning with someone on the internet is often completely pointless, and a lot of people aren't worth to be reasoned with. Vote to reopen, invite someone to repon or move on. - SigTerm
(4) @RCIX I agree with everything you said, except for the part about it being bad. We do close vote subjective questions, even if they're good, because they don't belong on the site as per the faq. I'm not in any way ashamed of that like you seem to think I should be, and I'm quite sure gnovice isn't either. We don't want this community to go the way of reddit/dig/slashdot/etc., so we do need to be hard-headed about not allowing these posts -- posts like this are the exact thing that makes me not like those other communities. I know you think it's silly, but I seriously think these kill SO - Michael Mrozek
(3) @RCIX: Trust me, I'm not hard-headed about it. Questions like this, taken by themselves, are just a harmless (and useless) bit of fun. I wouldn't vote to close something like this at all, except... "I don't want to name names, but if this exact question was asked by a select few; I bet nobody would be voting to close it." - where do you think that comes from? I'll wager it's the previous questions like this that were also harmless fun until they became impossible to get rid of, and are now used as examples to justify the posting of new ones. The longer it goes on, the harder it gets to stop. - Shog9
@Shog9: no, it's from the question about LOGO that got massive upvotes largely because Joel asked it. It has nothing to do with subjective questions. - RCIX
@RCIX: do you realize that even that question was closed twice? - Shog9
But his point was it would have gotten torn to shreds by you guys if it hadn't been Joel. So if someone like Joel asked a similar question, like this one with low "warring" potential, i bet some of you at least would have gone "ah, i'll let it slide. It is, after all, Spolsky asking this question..." - RCIX
(1) @RCIX: so, someone like Joel, who owns the site, posts a very simple programming question to prove a point while recording a podcast, and it still fires off a huge controversy in the comments and elsewhere, and gets closed, twice. And your point is that we were too easy on him, because if he'd asked this question, the non-programming, non-point-illustrating, thoroughly-unhelpful-even-to-logo-programmers question we're commenting on right now, it might not have been closed as much? You're losing me - how is that even remotely relevant and not entirely speculative? - Shog9
sigh i can't explain it, i've been up for over a day at present >.< - RCIX
@PeterK: I agree with your opinions regarding a double standard in SO. It seems like people who have enough votes to close questions target certain users but not others with similar or worse questions which really deserve to be closed, biased! - Frank Computer
(3) @RCIX: Oh, I love this game! Hmmm... a name that starts with "g" and ends with "novice"... let me think... Oh! I know who it is! I bet it's "g-oh-look-another-digglodyte-whining-about-nazis-novice". Yeah! I love that guy! He's awesome! - gnovice
The reason i'm whining about close nazis is because they're here :P @Shog9: now that i've rested, i can explain it: the point is not the absolute difference in controversy, its that Joel gets the ability to ask many more subjective and otherwise less "fits the faq to a T" questions without having them permanently closed. That logo question, which was much more controversial than this one, largely stayed open because it was the founder of the site asking it. If it had been asked my some joe off the street, it would have been closed as "not a real question" within 10 minutes. (more) - RCIX
@Shog9: So if you take this question, with it's controversy and yo-yo ness even when it is a normal person asking, then if you have Joel ask a similar question, it gets much less fuss over it. 2 notes: 1. that was a loooong winded explanation to say you guys have a doulbe standard and are hypocrites, and 2. i forgot. @gnovice: you were chosen because virtually any (at least somewhat) controversial question will have a close vote from you and more often than not one of those comments saying stack overflow isn't for (fun) subjective questions. - RCIX
(3) @RCIX: Ok, first off - the questions aren't similar. It wasn't, "What's your favorite feature in LOGO?" or anything else of the sort - there is a correct answer to "How do I move the Turtle..." It's controversial for two reasons: it's very, very simple (which was the point - he wanted to show that beginners asking simple questions was acceptable on SO), and it was mentioned on the podcast (so it collected a ton of attention and joke answers). Contrast again with this question, which isn't a programming question (beginner or otherwise) and has no correct answer. - Shog9
(1) @RCIX: but even if Joel was to start asking "What's your biggest... favorite... ugliest..." questions - why on earth would you use him as an example of someone who would get special treatment? It's (partially anyway) his site! If he wanted to, he could re-open any question here with a single click... You can't really give someone what they have by default. You might as well complain that I get to walk around my house naked while you do not. - Shog9
(1) People are already starting to repeat some of the top-voted answers, so apparently 100 is plenty. Locking. - Bill the Lizard
[+266] [2010-07-27 19:33:20] Jeremy

That a bug of mine could cause physical harm to someone or something.

(13) I hope this will be the most voted, to show that for us (programmers), people is more important than code, something great (and perhaps a surprise that breaks some myths haha) - Hernán Eche
(13) Talk about programming for a air traffic control tower :O :O - Ranhiru Cooray
(24) It's funny the answer says : "a bug of mine", and not "a bug in my code" - Hernán Eche
(2) When in doubt, blame the hardware. - James
(1) @James: How many software developers does it take to change a lightbulb? None! It's a hardware problem! - FrustratedWithFormsDesigner
Timely link:… And another one:… - FrustratedWithFormsDesigner
Working in the space industry, yes I would agree as that could possibly be a multimillion dollar mistake. - Jack
The other answers describe ridiculous to understandable "fears". But this is the only one so far which would really terrify me if it happened. - delnan
(7) That is why I work in corporate america, and not in something like defense. - Chad
(1) you have me analyzing why i said "of mine"...I think it implies that I would have more than one. If I say "my wife" versus "a wife of mine" the second would imply that I have more than one wife, and I'm just talking about one of them. - Jeremy
(1) @Hernan, @Jeremy... Perhaps it shows that you feel attached to your code. Like it is almost a part of you. That a bug in your code is really a bug in you... or perhaps I should stick to software and not delve into Psychology. - Jack
(14) ::puts on a fake Austrian accent:: @Jeremy: by zaying "of mine" rather than "in my code" you have accepted responzibility for your actions. Which is fery much at odds with zee zeitgeist. Now, tell me more about your mother... - dmckee
(2) I guess this is highly unlikely in most cases, but of frightening importance in medical, industrial, millitary, and human transportation applications. - Andreas Rejbrand
I heard a story once where an "if-then-else" statement almost caused a nuclear war when someone changed the threat level, normally an integer, to "1.5". - adam0101
(1) I wrote a shareware RPN calculator for Windows many years ago. One day I noticed someone working at a Nuclear power plant in Brazil had bought it. I still really hope Brazil never has a Chernobyl (more than my baseline desire for a lack of nuclear accidents that is). - aepryus
(1) You should see how rigorously everyone works to make sure it wasn't their fault every time a weapon misses a target in a test flight... - Jeff Barger
Once I accidentally wrote this code "if(employee.gender="F") {...}" I was not popular 28 days later when all the "guys" in the company realized what happened. - JohnFx
(4) @JohnFx: but that didn't physically harm anybody, right? Or are you working on a sex change clinic? - ninjalj
@ninjalj - code creates reality, like accounting. - JohnFx
(3) @Chad You are not immune in Corporate America. You may have more chance of causing harm than in Defense. Medical, automotive, civil engineering, and safety systmes are just a few places outside of defense where a single bug can result in countless injuries or deaths. Even a faulty phone app could prevent someone from dialing 911 at a critical moment. - James Schek
[+208] [2010-07-27 19:49:00] nivlam

That I'll recognize my code on TheDailyWTF [1].


(63) That my colleagues recognize code that I submitted on The Daily WTF... and that they guess who posted it ;) - Thomas Levesque
(9) The people who lovingly write TheDialyWTF code are not the kind of people that would recognize their code. - TheJacobTaylor
(15) Shouldn't be a problem, as they rarely actually post code on the TDWTF anymore. I'm sick of their overly long stories leading up to a punchline where someone non-technical did something stupid. Needs more horrific code to regain its lost punch. - Nathan Ernst
(1) @Nathan, couldn't agree more... most recent stories were boring - Thomas Levesque
hehe I like this one :) and Thomas's response :) - townsean
+1 for already mentioning my biggest fear :) - mhenrixon
I've done that already. Not my code, but it might as well have been - it was the "inner platform effect" thing. I don't read it much really because there've been too many cases where the WTF wasn't a WTF, but that was a nasty reminder of past misdeads. - Steve314
+1 for obvious reasons (like: me being the forum admin of tdwtf) - ammoQ
[+197] [2010-07-27 19:56:08] bobince

I fear the rise of closed programming environments—in particular Apple's iOS—and the anti-freedom business model and way of thinking they represent. It was bad enough trying to be a programmer when Microsoft could decide to destroy you through unfair practices like bundling, but the total control exercised so capriciously by Apple makes MS look like a kindly uncle.

I loathe the increasing presence of internet activation (DRM) in development toolsets (Windows, graphics tools, applications in general). Again, my ability to do my job rests in the co-operation of another company that can arbitrarily deny it or simply disappear, leaving me in the lurch.

I despair that, after years of the open-source crowd chipping out some hard-won freedoms in these areas, many want to simply hand over the keys to all their computing activities to a third party, whose interests may well not align with their own.

(35) +1 Thats why I don't have an iPhone.. not because I am on Verizon. - John Isaacks
(10) +1 for the final paragraph - rmeador
+1 for truth, -1 for no mention of jailbreak :p. - chpwn
(4) You're always at risk. Imagine you're a developer of an embedded system that relies on specific hardware. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find 5.25" floppy drives, ISA slots, and so on. - Gabe
(10) The thing is that the average joe couldn't care less about open-source software. He just wants to surf the web, get email, maybe chat with friends, and watch silly YouTube videos. He doesn't even know what open-source means. And even if he did, he wouldn't care about what some imtellectuals were fighting over in the corner; he just wants software that works even if he has to pay for it. That average joe is probably 60-80% of computer users. Until the open-source community learns to be able to target these users, it won't gain wide acceptance. - RCIX
(1) DRM is a real problem, but at this point, the open source community doesn't have the ability to deliver solid programs that work in a lot of places and install easily. Thus, there's no good alternative for the not-(very-)technically inclined. - RCIX
Finally, even if you can solve the problem of quality in open source software, you have to be able to get it out to the general public. That requires a lot of money, and unless you get bill gates to donate a few million... - RCIX
@RCIX - the trouble with that "average joe couldn't care less" point is that suddenly the average joe realises he's being ruled by a dictator. Steve Jobs may not wear a Darth Vader helmet, but if you offered him total dominion over all Apple customers via the dark side of the force, I don't think he'd refuse. That said, I do like LLVM - an open source project primarily sponsored by Apple. - Steve314
The success of the iOS and its App Store is precisely because of the quality control that Apple imposes on 3rd party software. I don't know how to explain what good design is, and developers who gravitate towards open source platforms such an Android tend to be unable to see the difference between good and bad design. I can't really help them. Most people aren't programmers, so we should be designing for them and not for ourselves. - lucius
(5) Whilst there may well be a cultural preference for prettier UI in the Apple world, the App Store approval process is not about ‘good design’, it's about censoring activities that aren't beneficial to Apple Computer. In any case, I don't want an external arbiter deciding what is “good design”. Let all the dross though (and yes, there is plenty of dross even in the App Store) and let the market decide which applications are well-designed. - bobince
(1) @Steve314: Steve Jobs may not have the helmet but he already have a nice black pullover. - kriss
@bobince - don't you fear someone asking you to parse HTML with regex? lolz! ;) - DMin
+1 for the final paragraph. That's exactly my fear when I see "open source" people gravitate towards Apple. - Noufal Ibrahim
@new123456: Given that at least some of them seem to be scratching their head about why everyone (ish) is still over on windows/mac, I would think so. And if they don't, then they have to realize that they simply will remain a niche, not bringing their much championed "free as in speech" ideals to most of the computer-using world. - RCIX
@bobince: the issue is that the market can't decide in some cases. I am very glad they removed all the silly and distasteful "boob apps" from the store. Granted, they've done just as much if not more to harm legitimate apps, but the rule of Apple is not all bad. And if you want them to let everything through, look at 4chan for an example of how that doesn't necessarily work so well. - RCIX
(1) @RCIX - However, is the portion that cares about "Average Joe" a major force in the Linux development community? Remember that most Linux software - including the kernel itself - was originally, and largely still is, made by developers, for developers, and that it is with the developers that ultimate authority really lies. - new123456
(1) @new123456: but you can't have it both ways. If you want it widely accepted, then you have to make concessions for usability by new users. If you don't, then you have to resign yourself to siting in a corner not being used by the general population. Linux targeting a different audience is fine, but when the devs of linux snub the conventions established by other OSes in one breath then "want everyone to have the right to software free from restrictions on copying and modifying it", i detect a bit of hypocrisy. You're not going to get a ton of new people by saying "guess what, the way you [...] - RCIX
learned things is wrong, and you're an idiot if you can't learn how to do it our way". - RCIX
(1) @new123456: I just installed Ubuntu 10.10 on my laptop, and it didn't "just work". Not all of my apps worked as expected (but that's my fault!), the touchpad support doesn't work well (but that's the hardware vendor's fault!), and it's missing small nice things that make it easier for me to use (basically an Aero Snap clone). Sure, there are ways to do all of this -- but for me, it's not intuitive. To put it simply, why should I have to bend to my computer's way of doing things, when it should be the other way around? - RCIX
@RCIX - You're going into a rant here, and I suggest that you pull out your ethernet cord and make a sensible reply when you have a cool head and a specific objection to what I said, and not what you think your general idea of a minority of the Linux community is. - new123456
@new123456: I didn't mean for it to come off as a rant, sorry about that :) Anyway, you just said that the developers (who are the people in question here) have the ultimate authority and that Linux is largely made by developers, for developers. Now they're a minority? Moreover, my last posts were largely a reaction to having read your linked article, phrased generally because it reinforced my "general idea of a minority of the linux community". - RCIX
@RCIX - I apoligize for the confusion over what I meant by the "minority of the Linux community". By that, I meant the zealotry and the elitists. Having said that, the developers are more of an oligarchy, and are quickly becoming a minority, but not the same minority as the elitists/zealots. Hope this clears things up :) - new123456
@new123456: That helps, thanks :) - RCIX
[+162] [2010-07-27 19:32:02] gehsekky

That I might one day have to learn Java.

(132) *sigh. Another blind java hater - TheLQ
(1) i actually did have to learn java eventually. my "blind hate" of java initially came about in college for my computer graphics class where i was learning how to do computer graphics and how to code in java at the same time using jogl. not fun :( years later, i went back and learned java after doing some development in .net (c#, and found it wasn't so bad after working in c#. i'm now doing android development in java. however, i really did fear having to learn java right out of school since the only thing i knew was c/c++ and java namespaces were frightening beasts. - gehsekky
(4) Just started a new job and I'm going to have to learn Java. Wish me luck. - orangeoctopus
(50) In my case it's, "That I might one day have to use Java again." - Kennet Belenky
(18) @Lord, personally, I'm not a Java hater. For me, Java is merely a description of a job I wouldn't like to pick. - Pavel Shved
I have to do this next year for school =( They don't teach c++ as a start as I hoped. Oh well, at least I have experience with the other languages i've played with... - ItzWarty
(3) My biggest fear is I'll have to go back to Java someday :) - Matt Greer
(15) "If you don't know a language well enough to document 3 specific things about the language you don't like, then you don't know the language"... and complaints about it are invalid. Not sure where the quote comes from, it's not mine. - RHSeeger
(1) @RHSeeger, interesting quote... now I'm scratching my head looking for specific things I don't like in Java ;) - Thomas Levesque
(18) Forced exception handling when you'd rather it bubble up, verbosity of everything, bolted on generics, classpath and jars, the fact that you know and instantly hate anything written with AWT/Swing Java UI frameworks, and on and on it goes. Java was revolutionary in 1995, but its showing its age. - mattmc3
(3) @Levesque: Oh, I certainly have my 3. I just think it's important to know a language enough to be able to say you don't like it :) - RHSeeger
(2) 1. The naming conventions 2. the uh-gly generics 3. the lack of real properties - RCIX
(3) @mattmc: Even when it was new, Java wasn't really particularly revolutionary. For most practical purposes, it was little more than version 5 of the UCSD P-System re-cast to run on top of an OS instead of being the OS. - Jerry Coffin
(1) I just recently began using Java, and I am enjoying how the syntax differs from the other six languages I know, not to mention the portability. While I know C is far more difficult, it's refreshing to use a new language that requires me to think a little bit more than the rest have. - Allen Gingrich
(4) How can a programmer not be excited to have a reason to learn any language? - Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
(5) Other than C, is there any other language that doesn't have lambda? Even C++ has lambda now! A language without lambda is like a day without sunshine. - Brian
@RHSeeger - on that basis, I can't legitimately dislike Perl. I've tried to learn it several times, and ended up with lists of "WTF" notes, but now, that's all forgotten (or repressed). And sure enough I don't care about Perl, so can't seriously claim to dislike it. That won't stop me ridiculing it given the right trigger - though it will stop me effectively ridiculing it, I suppose. I don't really get the attitude with Java, though. I haven't used it for a long while myself, but to me it's neither especially good nor bad - just another C family language. - Steve314
@Kendall that's like saying a car enthusiast should be enthused to ride any car including an 87 chevy nova. i don't think so. only sith think in absolutes. - gehsekky
(1) @marduk - wow! an 87 chevy nova! that's so cool!!! - Steve314
(2) It's not really Java as a language I hate, but all the bullshit development and deployment environment that comes with it... does anybody really likes to edit XML by hand ? - kriss
(2) ^ why would you edit XML by hand? wouldnt you use a keyboard and mouse, first? - Devtron
I love Java! Now, will you just stand there for a second while I pull out my flamethrower... - JavaAndCSharp
[+143] [2010-07-27 19:37:06] Jaymz

That I end up working with another developer who doesn't actually know what they're doing, but they believe their way is the best way. And that developer is actually above you in the chain of command, so you end up having to do things their way.

Thankfully I've not had that fear realised yet!

Oh, and spiders...

(33) Why would anyone downvote this? Oh, right. Someone has to be that ranking developer... - Amardeep
I was in this kind of situation just a month ago. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the one that didn't know what he was doing. - Igor Zinov'yev
(3) Wouldn't the ignorance of being that person be bliss? - Allbite
(7) @Amardeep - Yes, but part of being that person is generally not realizing that you are that person. - JohnFx
that also implies that you work in an environment where rank outweighs logic. In my place if I can propose a suitable argument on why we should be doing something a certain way, as long as there isn't a huge cost, then that idea will be considered. - DaveDev
Your pain is my reality. He argues against the use of bug trackers. (we have 7 developers and 1 tester...) - Stargazer712
(2) Some companies are just broken, I would get out of that reality ASAP it's just not worth the effort. It's a noble goal at first but you're going to have to fix so many issues while new ones come in that the net result is still the same. It's not that it's easier to find a new job, it's about self preservation, you'll most likely burnout before you'll see a meaningful change, especially when you not an authorative person. - John Leidegren
[+135] [2010-07-27 19:33:04] Jerry Coffin

That I might end up in a job where I had to wear a neck-tie.

(25) Neckties are simply punishment for wimping out and getting a business degree. - bta
hmm a tie is the least of your worries. Cannot understand the fuss. - John Nolan
(10) If there's a boss yelling at you saying "IS IT READY? IS IT READY? IS THE APPLICATION READY?? THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY BIG FINISH IT NOW", the tie is the least of your worries. Really. - Jimmie Lin
(10) Ties are actually very nice if you take the time to choose a nice one (together with a matching shirt). Software developers don't have to (and in my experience seldom do) look like hoboes with beards and suspenders. I am not saying everybody should wear ties, but I sometimes wear them because I want to, not because anybody makes me. - Sean Patrick Floyd
(1) I'm old enough to have been there. You get used to it. Wouldn't want to go back though. - JohnFx
Clip-on neckties are just what the doctor ordered for me. - khai_khai
(12) The tie is important. When your boss decides to hang you for e.g. taking a 16 minute coffee break during your 8 hours daily unpaid overtime when your only entitled to 15, or using the toilet twice in the same week, it's important not to put him to unnecessary trouble finding rope etc. - Steve314
Well that's excatly the point.. people with ties usually are more involved in decisions as a programmer who spends most of his day behind a screen.. I'm scared of the opposite, not spending the time behind the screen.. but ending up with lower paid job where I have no influence into the decisions made and have to program out other peoples ideas.. - Nils
(2) @Nils: My original point was primarily that the companies (at least that I've seen) where you'd likely wear a tie are mostly involved in writing software so boring it hardly matters whether you have influence over decisions or not. - Jerry Coffin
> so boring it hardly matters whether you have influence over decisions or not Heh ok that's quite sad :( - Nils
[+91] [2010-07-27 19:41:05] balexandre

though all answers seem to take the funny part, and I'm loving them

I must say that my worst fear is just 2 words

bored and afraid

getting bored of everything about developing, computers, internet... I'm afraid that, after investing so many year in programming (15 and counting), we get to that age that... "please... no more computers!" and then I wonder ...

getting afraid even though I have the passion of developing and creating web business applications (that's what drives me), I'm getting sick of such new versions of programming languages, new ways of doing it, it all come to fast (I'm a .NET developer)... I can't know it all as I wanted, now I'm starting with MVC, WCF, OData, ... ... ... :-( When will this ever end, I'm exhaust of pursuing the new technologies, takes time to be good at one, and when your good... there are 5 more, 3 of them Upgrades! Uff!

but then again...

without programming something... what else can I do?

this is my fear!

(12) +1, mate. But, to be honest, being programmers, I think most of us will never get bored of what we do. We probably just love it too much. Think about it: is there some other job in which you can build virtually every tool you need, the way you want it built? - s.m.
(7) @sm, although I tend to agree, not all programmers love what they do... Actually, most of the people I worked with don't really have a passion for programming, they just to it for a living (which I find kind of sad). But anyway, those people usually don't spend time on SO ;) - Thomas Levesque
add my comment to the answer. - balexandre
(3) ""please... no more computers!" and then I wonder ..." Okay, I went through that few months ago. Still alive and kicking. Now what? - SigTerm
(7) I think this is just another way of saying burnout, which is something I greatly fear. Already I've reached the point where I rarely program in my spare time for fun anymore. - rmeador
@Thomas Levesque: I agree with you when you say that a lot of programmers don't really care about what they do (I see that everyday at work). As a matter of fact, I was referring to 'us' truly passionate developers, as you seem to have perceived. Developers that really don't care about programming, don't care about constantly learning new things or do anything to improve themselves, aren't IMHO worth of being called 'developers'. - s.m.
@SigTerm I'm really think of dedicating to something else... sometimes, pull up the chair, sit down and turn the computer on I think... here we go again... I fell that I should do something else as well, more... mouse-and-screen-independable :) - balexandre
(2) @rmeador: "burnout" Once upon a time I had a freelance project, where I worked at maximum power for a month. I had to learn a new API, write a plugin with it, debug it and send it back. I "overloaded" my brain and when project ended I was mentally tired and couldn't think about complex things for a few days. Can't say it was pleasant. But, while I was working it was a pure happiness - the feeling of the skills put to test, brain used at full capacity (plus the pay was good). I miss that feeling. After that other project looked a bit boring - lots of work, but no similar challenge. - SigTerm
(3) There are plenty of other interesting things to do besides sitting behind a desk writing code all day. The tricky part is figuring out how to get one or more of those other things to pay the mortgage... - dthorpe
@balexandre: On your "it all comes too fast" point - have you read Joel Spolskys "fire and motion" article? It's from 2002, but only getting more relevant, IMO. Pretty soon we'll be learning how it's time to throw away the old kitchen sink API because the new shiny one (that'll be obsolete too in a few years time) has so many more bells and whistles. - Steve314
fear == afraid. It seems your biggest fear is fear itself. - John Isaacks
[+89] [2010-07-27 19:41:26] Chris Henry

Data loss. Causing data loss is the worst sin any developer can possibly commit. But, that's why sysadmins take backups.

(124) You haven't lived until you've dropped a production database. - Frank Farmer
Taking backups is the first part of the solution. Then you've to restore them! - Felipe Alsacreations
@Frank - or until you've had to restore something from backup, even the data for a single column. It doesn't have to be a whole database. - uncle brad
(4) Whenever i use a recursive folder clear/delete in C#, since you can't delete a directory that contains files, i'm always afraid that i'll accidentally call the function on 'C:\' >_>... Many times, i've accidentally written a file to C:\ instead of my target directory. - ItzWarty
(6) @Frank, does it count if you thought you dropped the production database, but actually were off by one number and dropped the test database, and still ran around making calls like your boss was going to drop you in molten lava once he found out? - Matthew Jones
(7) You do this once, and you try never to go it again. I dropped a production database, it was the worst day of my life. - Mark Tomlin
(10) Unless, of course, you are developing secure disk erase software. I cause data loss all the time :) - bta
Oh, this is huge. I've had this happen a few times due to RAD and poor QA practices. OT: "You haven't lived until you've dropped a production database." Hahaha. - Inigoesdr
@ItzWarty: That's why I test code in virtual machines. - Jimmie Lin
@Frank - No, you haven't lived until you've dropped a production database and then committed. - wadesworld
(2) I let SSMS inadvertently drop a production table once, two weeks into a new job (and the day before closing on my first house). To make it worse, the table contained all HTML content for our custom franchisee CMS, serving hundreds of active websites for the one client who supported our whole office. To make it even worse, we found out then that there really wasn't a backup. Our whole company spent the entire night copy & pasting page content out of google cached pages. We finished the next day just in time for me to make it to my house closing. I still have the job. - qes
(1) @Frank - add it to the bucket list. - sMaN
[+81] [2010-07-27 19:31:55] James

Getting fired for using StackOverflow at work. =D

(31) If I'm fired for reading interesting posts at StackOverflow I'd be happy for it as that company would not need someone like me. - Giorgi
(10) Funny thing is that eventually, an employee from the company will ask a question on SO... and maybe you'll be the one answering. - ItzWarty
(2) So I'm not the only one who dreads the possibility that my boss could one day find SO and ask me how I got so many rep points.... - JohnFx
Yeah ... my exact fear as well. - Sam Saffron
[+71] [2010-07-27 20:39:40] blesh

I fear the rushing tide of developers that are coming into the field only for the money or the "opportunity" and not because they love to code and solve problems. They devalue the field as a whole.

(4) If you're a decent programmer you won't have to worry about it...however I do agree with you in the sense that it will be devalued. On the flipside, look at nursing. So many people go into nursing because there's earning potential there but when they are not experienced and don't actually enjoy what they do, they don't stand a chance in the real world -- and the good nurses still make bank. - rownage
(3) Seems like this was a lot more of an issue in 1995-2000 or so. - Frank Farmer
(9) I wouldn't fear these people. Developers who are not geeks by nature are usually carp. - Sean Patrick Floyd
(4) Crap, not carp. - Sean Patrick Floyd
@rownage: People get into nursing for the money? I thought it was underpaid. - Andrew Grimm
@Andrew: It's not great to start off, but if you can eventually become a senior nurse or head a department there are huge amounts of money to be made (the main point being you'll never get there if you don't enjoy it)...@seanizer: That gave me a good chuckle. If you're a developer and you're not a geek, you might as well be a freshwater fish. - rownage
(6) It's these people that I fear... it's the managers who can't distinguish between these folks and the ones with true passion. - James Schek
(1) Right, that's what I mean by "devalue" they can actually end up lowering wages for "good" developers. To upper management at a lot of larger companies, a developer is a developer, the more the better. There's no accounting for skill at that level, and at some point your salary is going to be dictated by some sort of supply and demand psuedo-logic. - blesh
The dot com bust was effectively a thumb in that dike. I hardly ever have anyone ask me anymore "What do I have to do to become a programmer?" - JohnFx
What money? Am I the only one who thinks that programmers are underpaid? Or is it just me who is under paid? - John Isaacks
@JohnFX I have people all the time say they want me to take a day or 2 to teach them how to program, so they can get a programming job. I think they truly think that it can be learned in a couple days. Actually I think they don't actually associate programming as writing code, I think they conceptualize it like programming a VCR. - John Isaacks
[+62] [2010-07-27 20:38:07] ninjalj

Losing an arm or a hand.

(4) It's OK if you still have one, though... In a previous job, I had a colleague whose left hand had been amputated, and he was pretty good - Thomas Levesque
(20) Fortunately I don't use Emacs, but even then, fear is irrational. - ninjalj
(1) Dragon Speak, programming edition. Problem solved :-) - invertedSpear
My wife claims she saw a documentary that included a mention of a prolific programming book author who only has 3 fingers total. Never managed to find him via google though. - Frank Farmer
(3) @ninjalj: That's when you get yourself a good one-hand keyboard and a set of foot pedals for the modifier keys. - Novelocrat
(4) @Novelocrat: I like the foot pedals idea. I'd feel like I was Def Leppard's drummer. - ninjalj
(3) Sounds like a more appropriate fear for a jedi than a programmer. - JohnFx
(1) @JohnFx Are you not jedi???!!!!!! @ninjalj What about eyes? That is realy more appropriate fear for a programmer - Jeriho
Voice Command, Speech SDK. Oh yesssss! High Five. - Devtron
(1) Surely GOING BLIND is the worse possible disability for a developer. I've thought about it a lot, and I can't see any way that I could usefully continue coding with my eyes. - Benjol
[+50] [2010-07-27 20:44:49] FrustratedWithFormsDesigner

Burnout. I've seen it happen, and gotten very close to it myself. It's not pretty.

Also fear waking up one day and needing to scream "I don't want to do this anymore!!", but that's not really programming-specific, could happen in any career.

The good thing is that it is usually only a transient condition. - JohnFx
While my first (and so far only) time burning out was bad, although not as bad as some experience, I'm glad that it happened. I have significantly improved my work-life balance since then, and even though I'm in Grad School now, I still manage to have a social life and not feel too stressed out on a day-to-day basis. I've figured out how to get lots done within a "normal" work day, so that I don't actually spend too many evenings working away on school work. There has got to be a better way to learn this stuff, but hitting my all-time low seemed to have worked for me... - Tony Arkles
@JohnFx: how long does such a 'transient condition' last? really curious - Chris
@Chris: I can only speak for myself, but it usually seems to last only until I get my hands on a really cool project with a new twist. That said, each time it seems to take longer to get excited again. By the time I'm 50 I may have run out of refreshes. - JohnFx
[+49] [2010-07-27 19:37:51] Giorgi

Working with a senior developer who is very bad at programming.

Programming javascript without jQuery.

(24) Here, I'll fix that for you "Programming javascript". :-) - Brian Knoblauch
are those two things, or are you talking about a senior dev? - Yar
(7) I like my plain JavaScript, thank you :P. - ItzWarty
(8) gotta love (loath) these seniors... "I'm 25 years experience programming, I don't need no unit tests and my code does not need reviews from anyone.... Delphi 5 is a perfectly capable platform that can do anything we need, I see not why I would learn anything, especially not from you little green guy " bla bla bla..... yeah so is brainfuck but you do not see many business apps developed with it, I wonder why though... maybe we need an eclipse plugin for it ! - Newtopian
Don't tell me you are going to make alert()s with jQuery. Oh right, "How to add two numbers in jQuery" is the reason some of us still use plain Javascript. - Jimmie Lin
My manager prefers that I use Microsoft's AJAX library. - baultista
(3) Have you tried JavaScript?… - Graphics Noob
(3) Ugh, there's more JavaScript frameworks than just jQuery. Look at MooTools and Dojo for instance. Both are way better than jQuery in my opinion. See - Daniel15
(1) Some day a smart youngster come into your office and you are the senior developer. Now what? My suggestion. If you are better share your knowledge and try to improve your team! Trust me if you get your coworkers into that "learn and improve" attitude the whole team can manage hard work more easily. - schoetbi
what about ExtJs ??? :) Personally I love to code in pure Javascript but unfortunately I've not participated in such project - Zango
[+45] [2010-07-27 19:49:34] nanda

Having no internet

Seriously, once the internet is down and all developers stopped working and started chatting. Oh my god... that's nightmare!

(22) I can't watch a post-apocalyptic movie without thinking. "Yaknow? All of of these valuable programming and computer skills I have spent years acquiring would be absolutely useless if that happened. Maybe sniper would have been a better life-choice." - JohnFx
(2) I was in storm during past 6 days in Maryland and my Internet service was down...ask me about it. Was I paralyzed? YES - geekam
(2) I'm the opposite. I had a deadline to hit last week and I found that pulling the network cable out of my workstation massively improved my productivity. - WOPR
(1) ^ until you realized all your web development stuff wasnt working? i kid, i kid. - Devtron
[+42] [2010-07-27 19:31:15] Mike Caron


(Working on a web app ;)

(I'm not kidding. Poorly designed spiders and poorly designed websites don't go together! [1])


(4) That's a good one, at my previous work, there was a "lead developer", I'm sure he's afraid of that to. One day our forum was empty, so we checked the logs. Guess who did it... Yes, a spider. He forgot the security and the spider just followed the delete links. - GuidoH
[+38] [2010-07-27 20:27:42] wshato

That I will stay too long in a corporate job that I don't love because the pay is good.

(10) meh, worse things have happened in my life - xiaohouzi79
(4) and now I can afford that ivory back scratcher - xiaohouzi79
I'm going to stick around just couple more years until I can afford the one with diamond inlays. In all seriousness, I enjoy my gig quite a bit, but I've seen this happen many times. - wshato
[+36] [2010-07-27 19:31:25] Taylor Leese

That I might have to program in COBOL.

(4) Been there done that. Agreed don't want to go back there. - Jack
(2) I don't have a problem with it. It's a bit verbose, but suits some problem sets very well. - Brian Knoblauch
(1) I might have to program in COBOL AGAIN. - Oliver Weiler
(4) I don't mind COBOL, as long as nobody else wrote it but me :) - Josh Stodola
sed, TCL, FileMaker, actually I enjoyed writing in Forth… there are actually bad languages out there. - Potatoswatter
What's wrong with COBOL? Mainframe IBM COBOL is still faster than a PC :) - Devtron
[+30] [2010-07-27 19:37:53] Marco Ceppi

That my code becomes SkyNet

(64) Read well, the question says "fear", not "proud" - Hernán Eche
(7) Damn, I knew I should have put a NotImplementedException in that empty Ethics method I was meaning to get back to... and now SkyNet is ruthless. - Neil N
(1) - bta
Any SkyNet code I write will make me its king! - SLC
+1 made me lol! - Dal
[+29] [2010-07-27 20:35:12] Beaner

Becoming outdated.

I fear that the next hot thing will come along and I'll find that no one wants to hire me because I didn't just get out of school trained in Object Oriented X# and they don't want to wait until I get up to speed.

(2) +1. As a Win32 developer, I fear .NET (No, not really, but to a small extent, maybe.) - Andreas Rejbrand
[+29] [2010-07-29 03:57:51] Jeremy Friesner

Non-reproducible bugs. (in particular, bugs that only ever show themselves when the program is being demo'd on stage in front of at least 500 people)

[+28] [2010-07-27 20:33:34] JohnFx


I am running as fast as I can to keep up, but the amount of stuff you need to know to do this job right only seems to be increasing. As I am nearing 40 I have to wonder how much longer I will have the stamina to keep learning at such a rapid pace.

(12) I'm only 26 and feel the same way :p - jdizzle
[+23] [2010-07-27 19:33:54] marc_s

Programming Sharepoint with Javascript.....

I never thought about that - TheLQ
I dont think you can program Sharepoint. And Javascript is a scripting language, not a programming language. - Devtron
or rather doing any work in sharepoint imho - Harrison
[+22] [2010-07-27 20:22:53] Jack


(22) Or the lack of it for folks like me who're at the receiving end of it. - Amarghosh
(2) @Amarghosh - depressingly funny burn - rownage
question of opinion... one man's bane is another man's boom but I understand your fear. - Newtopian
TBH Outsourcing prevented my internship out of college from turning into a full time position. However, in retrospect I am kinda glad it happened I really enjoy working for my current employer. - Jack
(5) I'm less afraid of outsourcing, and more afraid of managers who think it's a good idea -- it implies prioritizing price over quality. - Frank Farmer
(2) How about being the programmer who has to come in behind a failed outsourcing effort? Yikes! - JohnFx
(1) @JohnFx At least at that point you would feel fairly safe that they would not try outsourcing again. - Jack
it should read " Asia". - Devtron
[+20] [2010-07-29 07:41:24] Carnotaurus

Being held accountable for timeframe estimates for essential functionality, where:

  1. I have no idea how long it would take to code;
  2. I am not given time to investigate;
  3. Requirements keep changing in an uncontrolled way;
  4. Data that needs to sit in just about any tier is being drip fed to me;
  5. The direction taken was incorrect or not considered an optimal way of writing the functionality and you then have an unrealistic timeframe to re-write it; and
  6. Once it has been re-written, half of the company blame you.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Preach!!!!!!!!! - rebelliard
You want me to post more? - Carnotaurus
Been there, done that, changed jobs - dpb
I did that too but I'll always remember a badly run organisation - Carnotaurus
[+19] [2010-07-27 19:39:13] Nate

That I might one day have to learn PHP.

(23) Nothing to be afraid of... it's far from being my favorite language, but it's really easy and you can get decent results pretty fast - Thomas Levesque
(8) I think the real fear should be that you might one day have to USE PHP. Learning it is easy - it doesn't have any of the complexities of a real language. - Charles Boyung
Yes, after a bit of reflection, my real fear is having to actually use it. I already know a fair bit, and learning that wasn't so terrible... ;) - Nate
(20) I think what you really, really have to be afraid of, is to have to maintain PHP - OscarRyz
(6) Pfff - consider yourself lucky it isn't VB.NET - Dal
PHP is better then any language I worked with(too long list), atleast untill you need optimization. Why do you thnk it's so bad? - Dani
Thomas: From what I've seen of PHP, the kind of programs for which PHP can deliver "decent results pretty fast" are pretty much the kind of programs I don't want to write. That's why I'm afraid. - Ken
Exactly, decent results != good software. - Nate
php is a beginner language haha. perhaps what you meant is that you might one day have to code in PHP which means that you're most likely doing web development, which means you didn't get that dream job of working at a gaming company :P - gehsekky
(2) @marduk - I do web development all the time and I would still never use PHP. The language is absolute garbage, it performs worse than anything else out there, and the tools to support it hardly compare to what I have available to me with Visual Studio. - Charles Boyung
@marduk dream job working at a game company..? there is a reason most game programmers quite the game industry after a few years, they probably get sick of sitting there all day working with a 20 year old C game engine for 2 months to create a pause menu... - dormisher
[+17] [2010-07-27 19:42:00] Grant Crofton

Getting called out for writing something totally wrong on Stack Overflow. (It's Ok if no-one notices..)

(5) +1 for the (its ok if no one notices part) - John Isaacks
(33) If too many people notice, delete the message. There's a badge for that. - Donal Fellows
Every cloud has a silver lining! - Grant Crofton
I've been planed here. It's not so bad when you learn something important from it. - Superstringcheese
@Donal Fellows - its braver to sit it out and ride out the storm. - Tim Schmelter
@Tim: Braver maybe, but I prefer to review whether the answer is really answering the question (or the comment is at all valuable) and, if not, delete it. The focus must always be on answering the question. (And badges are Good! Want badges! Mmmm…) - Donal Fellows
[+17] [2010-07-27 19:53:03] qes


As in, didn't get it shipped - whether that be in time, with the killer feature, etc.

(14) Man, if you've never experienced this, either I've been doing something horribly wrong, or you're very lucky. - notJim
Oh I've experienced it. Very bad feeling. Do all programmers tie their self-worth to the success of their work? - qes
[+17] [2010-07-29 03:38:39] WOPR

Being asked "How many years experience do you have in XXX?", where XXX is a product I designed and wrote, then being told I didn't get the job.

Oh that's right, this already happened

(4) What was the XXX product, dare I ask? - user279521
How the h3ll??? - rebelliard
Wow. 10 more to go. - Michael Foukarakis
(2) Sharepoint is the product :) - Elijah Glover
I resent that comment. +1 - WOPR
[+15] [2010-07-27 19:42:29] Jaymz

Regular Expressions.

(37) What ?! Regular expressions can save lives ;) - Thomas Levesque
(3) Scary at first, but such a useful secret weapon once you know them! - adam0101
This is a great start for people who don't know regular expressions but would like to learn:… - KPthunder
(6) What do you have against Cthulhu? - Andrew Grimm
[+13] [2010-07-27 20:41:23] Superstringcheese

Losing the battle to stay up-to-date on such a vast field of knowledge and having to resign to being a 'specialist' in some fading, dinosaur technology.

(1) some of the best paid programmers are the ones who can maintain COBOL code... Not fully exciting but a nice golden retirement. Fast forward 20 years and replace COBOL with Java - Newtopian
(6) Yeah, we just laid off 3 of them when we replaced our legacy mainframe system. - Superstringcheese
[+12] [2010-07-27 20:51:14] Pavel Shved

That code monkeys will replace all real programmers.

There will always be a need for programmers. Code monkeys can only do what they're told, much like computers themselves. - John D. Cook
(2) It's already happened. They're called Microsoft Certified Developers (such as myself) :) - Devtron
[+12] [2010-07-27 21:54:44] Bryan Oakley

I fear that some day the world will realize that we all spend about half our day goofing off and therefore should only be paid half as much.

(1) The world should also realize that programming is a creative task, and you can't do it as if were driving nails, mind recreation is a need - Hernán Eche
[+12] [2010-07-28 22:49:19] Marko

That one day, I'll wake up and realize that I haven't done anything of value and I'm too old to change that.

[+11] [2010-07-27 20:37:51] Chad

One of my fears is that I will quit liking my job. I can imagine programming is the kind of work that can be miserable if you don't love it.

[+11] [2010-07-29 06:07:17] baultista

Spending so much time working on work and side projects that I forget to stay in shape, find a nice girl to marry, etc etc.

[+10] [2010-07-29 18:17:50] Caleb Thompson

That one day the power will go out...

...and never come back on.

My entire educational and professional career would be for naught.

(1) Hush. Don't talk about Project Mayhem. - ninjalj
[+10] [2010-07-27 20:59:23] Flaps

Being forced using MFC on windows.

(3) Please, don't talk about this. I don't want to remember it ;) - Vitor Braga
(2) I'm still in this nightmare. At least until I finish porting the wretched app to WPF. - Nathan Ernst
[+9] [2010-07-27 19:39:24] Nealv

Being pushed in a direction and noticing afterwards that you are stuck with what you are doing, and you have been doing it the last 5 years or so

That's what I've never spent more than 2-3 years in the same job ;) - Thomas Levesque
After 6 jobs you are working 18 years ;). No it's just something I notice. When I was in school, I was always bussy with new technologie and experimenting etc,and now, I work for a boss, I don't have time to experiment for a couple of days, let alone keep up with changes+become better at the things I don at work - Nealv
[+9] [2010-07-27 20:03:56] BenAlabaster

What if I make it all the way to the end of my career and I've never done anything to help move the industry or humanity forward in any significant way? What if I slip off into the night and am forgotten like that dead Raccoon you drove past on the highway last week that you hadn't given a second thought until I just mentioned it?

wow. that is depressing, but unfortunately the likely fate of the vast majority of us. - JohnFx
@JohnFx - I know, isn't it? Thankfully, I don't spend my waking moments considering that this is a possibility. I had to sit and think long and hard to come up with that being my only real fear... and what if? - BenAlabaster
There are few things more frustrating than to pour your heart and soul into a product, a great product well received and loved by customers, and have it all but vanish from the face of the earth only a few years later. Software doesn't last. - dthorpe
@dthorpe - I'm not talking about a product, I'm talking about paradigm shifts, new approaches, radical new ways of thinking, change the world stuff. You're right though, pieces of software come and go. - BenAlabaster
@BenAlabaster Are you sure there's a difference? ;> - dthorpe
@dthorpe - I mean like profound world changing stuff, like finding the cause of gravity so we can beat it, light speed propulsion systems, warp speed, the ability to teleport... holy grail kind of stuff. There's no point in dreaming small ;) - BenAlabaster
@BenAlabaster: and none of those have anything to do with software. Are you in the right field? ;> Ok, creating true sentience would be a software thing, and game changing on multiple levels. - dthorpe
@dthorpe - Think metaphorically/abstractly and apply that to the software industry. I didn't literally mean those things - although it would be hella cool to figure them out, just imagine the possibilities. - BenAlabaster
(4) I obsess about that raccoon. It haunts me. His name was Speckled Jim. He was a father, a lover, a good provider. Sure, he got into fights occasionally was a bit reckless in traffic, but he was fundamentally a community minded raccoon. I miss him. - WOPR
[+8] [2010-07-27 22:01:58] Dan

That I might one day come to the conclusion that programming is just not for me. That's what really scares me.

[+8] [2010-07-29 07:50:31] Vimvq1987

I'm afraid of not having enough time to learn and master all stuffs I'm interested in...

[+8] [2010-07-29 08:33:52] Evernoob

I always get a deep fear in the pit of my stomach just before I'm about to push anything I have built or anything I'm responsible for live. Regardless of how thoroughly I have tested it.

It's like I'm assuming it's going to break straight away and I'll be revealed as stupid or incompetent or something.

I can relate to that. On the other hand, I an actually shocked, when I run into someone in the hallway, and they mention how everyone in their department LOVES the app I developed. :-) - user279521
[+7] [2010-07-28 22:45:58] xiaohouzi79

I fear spending my time on an answer forum answering RTFM questions like:

How to find the maximum of 2 numbers? [1]


How do I write a is not smaller than b [2]


[+7] [2010-07-27 20:01:24] Paul

That future technology and consolidation of development efforts either by corporation or open source projects will reduce the demand for programmers, while globalization significantly increases the supply. I think this is already well underway.

the trick here is to be good at what you do. there's a glut of bad and mediocre programmers, but good ones are few and far between, and likely always will be. - rmeador
(4) Well no offence, but I think that type of response is incorrect, as it throws responsibility for a systemic problem at individuals who have little actual control over the situation. Look at what happened to skilled craftsmen during the industrial revolution. It is going to be the skilled programmers who find that their skills have less and less business value. Technology is being driven by people with money who want to reduce the skill needed to program so they'll have more people competing for the same jobs and can pay them less. SharePoint is a perfect example of this type of thing. - Paul
Yeah, but someone has to maintain SharePoint itself! - Iain Galloway
Yes, someONE does. This is consolidation of development. One common library/application for all. It's not always better, but it's usually cheaper. - Paul
The point is "they can't replace us all". As meador says, really good developers are rare. Unless you envision a world where one person maintains Windows 3000, and the rest of us are just users... I can't really see that happening. The market is getting bigger, not smaller, despite the massive influx of developers from the second world. Sure, the pressure is on to differentiate yourself, but despite all the advances we've made software is still getting more complicated, not less. - Iain Galloway
Right, and I don't disagree with that, they can't replace us all and my hope is that the best developers can always get good jobs. My point is that they are going to try to make the bulk of programming jobs easier, so that it doesn't require a highly skilled developer. This will 'free up' (euphemism for losing your job or taking a pay cut) more expensive skilled developers to compete for a smaller set of projects with wide deployment. It's not the end of the world for good developers, but it does have an impact on your quality of life no matter how good you are. - Paul
Only if you consider that the complexity of applications that there is demand for has an upper bound. Certainly, we're being forced to learn more, and faster, in order to keep up. Overall I think it's a good thing though because in return all the boring stuff is automated. - Iain Galloway
Well, I hope all the naysayers here are right! - Paul
[+7] [2010-07-27 20:33:02] Y.J

Boss who doesn't understand me.. and, Incompetence.

[+7] [2010-07-27 19:53:02] Ranhiru Cooray

Threading :O

Gives me nightmares

(11) I actually fear people who think threading is easy much more than threading itself. - ninjalj
(2) Oh come on, threading's not that difficult, it's not nearly as confusing as asynchronous behaviour passing the async state around. - BenAlabaster
@BenAlabaster: As Rusty Rusell put it: "Please stay the f*ck away from my code" :P - ninjalj
(1) @ninjalj - Don't worry, I'm not in the habit of threading for threading's sake. Like all tools, there is a time and a place for them, and in most places I see it used, it shouldn't have been. Often threading used incorrectly impedes performance rather than improving it. I've only multi-threaded a handful of a few dozen applications I've written. So if your code shouldn't be threaded, it's quite safe, I wouldn't thread it with the misguided allusion that it would definitely increase performance. - BenAlabaster
[+7] [2010-07-27 19:47:19] Hernán Eche

stack overflow.

It happens me once, in a random way, I was using recursive functions, was the last time I use them

(3) I think it should be noted that you mean an actual stack overflow and not this website. At least I hope that is what you mean. - Jack
(4) I don't understand people donwvoting this answer. Indeed, it was a very good answer...stack overflow could be one of the most difficult error to debug in production environment when occuring andomly - fabien7474
[+6] [2010-07-27 21:00:19] Mike

Lack of motivation due to a project that you know 2 months down the line isn't going to be used anyway, so they scrap the idea and propose a new idea.

[+6] [2010-07-29 19:34:07] chris

Getting bored.

If I have to do one more CRUDdy web-app, I'm going to become an artist or something.

[+6] [2010-07-29 03:32:44] Neo

I am afraid I will get old and I won't be able to work as efficient as now and keep up with technology.

[+5] [2010-07-29 03:49:10] fastcodejava

Somebody will completely restructure my code!

(5) Amen to that! I wonder how many programmers stay in their job mainly because they know how badly their co-workers would butcher their beloved codebase if they weren't there to take care of it. :) - Jeremy Friesner
[+5] [2010-07-27 21:25:05] bta

My second biggest fear is being asked to re-write and modernize a program that my employer "has the source code for", where "has the source code" means "it's written in Fortran on this unsorted, waist-high stack of punch cards". I've done that once, and it's been a recurring nightmare ever since.

My biggest fear is for the above to happen, only for me to find that part of the aforementioned source code has decomposed or been eaten by vermin whilst being stored in the repositorybasement...

+1 for the vermins. - ninjalj
[+5] [2010-07-28 22:49:55] AShelly

making the mistake that causes the rest of the team to work unplanned overtime to correct.

[+5] [2010-07-27 20:15:53] jumpdart

Being forced to help with ISO Documentation... or even worse a users manual

(1) Done both. To make it worse, the manuals were mil. spec. - PSUnderwood
[+4] [2010-07-27 19:34:23] Nathan

Monads. And that one day I might have to write one for production code.

Heheh, awesome answer. They're pretty fun actually… - Jonathan Sterling
Come now, monads aren't that bad. - ChaosPandion
[+4] [2010-07-27 21:57:27] LostMohican

1 - getting behind of the general profession, not having enough time to develop my skills
2 - getting stuck on a maintenance project for a long time
3 - having to know so much about business logic to be competitive
4 - having bad design or no design before starting coding
5 - so on :)

unfortunately there are a lot of things to be afraid of in this profession

Sounds like you've been there - please take a look at mine. - Carnotaurus
[+4] [2010-07-27 21:50:50] Dal

That I have to go back to VB.NET from C# for the next project.... shudder

(2) You reminded me of what I'm afraid of. Language snobs. - JohnFx
(1) Sorry for giving my personal opinion... coded in the language for six months, eventually the existing developers decided to try some C#... never looked back. Speaks for itself really. - Dal
[+4] [2010-07-27 20:53:11] adavea

misusing rm -rf

[+4] [2010-07-27 20:53:45] loxxy

That I'll die without saying a simple word, "Eureka"

[+4] [2010-07-29 01:24:14] joshtronic

i'm deathly afraid of a monetary loss due to a bug in my code. it's happened before... the infamous "penny pizza day", instead of "dollar pizza day"... unit tests FTW

[+3] [2010-07-29 00:59:38] Frank Computer

I got left behind!.. I came out of a 15 year old time capsule because I stopped programming that long ago when I started a Pawnshop business. FWIW, I have a 20 yr old pawnshop app written with INFORMIX-SQL and I need to modernize the app with a GUI-front end, but keep the same functionality. My app is very robust and has some incredible features which a couple of other pawnshop owners who use my system are very happy with. Only obstacle which has kept me from effectively acheiving market penetration is, believe it, my app is char-based and I would like to duplicate the same functionality with a GUI. My feeling is that its quicker for a user to process a transaction with my char-based app vs. having to focus a cursor with a mouse, but cosmetics are hindering me! I need a programming language update!

[+3] [2010-07-29 01:17:27] Rachel

When I am involved with Legacy System and am working on new feature, I have this constant fear that I should not break existing functionality. This is one of my real life fears...I must admit it here.

[+3] [2010-07-29 07:57:21] monkut

The Singularity.

Machines will be writing themselves, and all high-level languages, like C, will become obsolete. Then we're all back to assembly, to try and figure out what the machines are doing.

[+3] [2010-07-27 20:55:59] TheJacobTaylor

Being forced to ship code before it is ready or within a timeframe that guarantees poor quality. I know the pain this causes, know what I will do to make it write, but still I hate this situation.

For Vice Presidents of Engineering put in this position, my recommendation is to refuse and/or quit. Don't push it down to your team.


[+3] [2010-07-27 20:52:14] Ed B

That my code will be reviewed

(1) To be safe just wipe the repo and burn all printouts - Alexandre Jasmin
[+3] [2010-07-27 20:45:57] Jacob

Given how many fervent debates there are about programming languages and platforms, I would say one of the most common fears is becoming irrelevant after investing lots of time cultivating a very specific skill set. There is a huge amount of angst on blogs, forums like hacker news, and even this site about getting left behind.

Some people deal with it by being defensive and trying to rationalize their decision to stay the course, and others endlessly jump to the newest greatest thing. But both are manifestations of this fear.

[+3] [2010-07-27 20:43:04] rebelliard

Spending my life programming on a language/environment I dislike.

See: Is using an outdated programming language bad for my career/personal development? [1]


link is broken. Google also can't find it - Alexander Malakhov
[+3] [2010-07-27 20:43:52] hb2pencil

Closed platforms. With every new locked device, a potential programming job is lost, along with individual freedom.

[+3] [2010-07-27 20:35:30] Andreas Rejbrand

I am always afraid that my OpenGL programs do not run properly on the majority of computers. In my experience, there is always a good "chance" that an application that runs perfectly on my machine (and a few others), do not run smoothly on some other machine, for no apparent reason...

By the way, testing on many machines should have been a lesson for those developing Grand Theft Auto IV, because - it seems - the setup utility will fail to display any text labels on computers not running an English languange version of Windows (and maybe German, too -- at least no text was shown when I tried to install it on my Swedish machine; there was only some strange mix of random Chinese (?) characters and whitespace). And when it was installed, even though my specs were far higher then the recommended, I got a inverse frame rate of some seconds per frame (yes, that is less than one fps!).

[+2] [2010-07-27 20:36:59] Nix

Agile Methodology takes over, and is poorly implemented.

[+2] [2010-07-27 20:37:03] user18943

That I might have to do front end work using javascript.

[+2] [2010-07-27 21:37:48] Jafet

Find out that some day my knowledge is obsolete and because of that become a college teacher.

I dream of following my software development career with teaching. Some of the profs I respect the most came from industry. - Alain O'Dea
Here at where I went to school, the "teachers" were misfits. One did everything with access, and knew nothing else. Other ones where struggling with the concept of OOP. Wow. When a couple of them had showed up at where I work to review my intern, one of my colleagues said that they were to weird to function in a business setting. Ah, school! - Garth Marenghi
[+2] [2010-07-27 21:24:41] townsean

Oh boy...a lot of good ones already mentioned. :)

Not being able to keep up in this every-changing field.
Never improving as a developer. Becoming the "weakest link" on the team.

[+2] [2010-07-28 22:50:43] RCIX

To take a page from this guy's book [1], I have nothing to fear except fear itself. Seriously.


Why the downvote? i'm perfectly serious. I don't care if it's a cliche. - RCIX
[+2] [2010-07-27 19:36:13] Chris Lively

That someone else will do what I do. ;)

[+2] [2010-07-27 20:00:05] A.Donahue

That I will invest all my time into a hyped new technology only to find out shortly down the road that it's a dying one...

[+2] [2010-07-27 19:55:43] Kerry


Really getting into all the extras, HipHop, Cassandra, etc.

[+2] [2010-07-29 06:48:19] Aitjcize

Something Like: breaking my fingers, blind ... and can't write code anymore.
Another one: IE6 ... LOL

[+2] [2010-07-29 04:17:29] Ast Derek

That working overnights and trying to improve could cause me physical harm, like the carpal tunnel syndrome

[+1] [2010-07-29 05:53:36] Hugoagogo

The horrible time suck and commitment it creates, that and losing my memory sticks and learning i should back up the hard way

[+1] [2010-07-29 07:14:03] Opera

My biggest fear as a programmer is that someday, somehow, code I wrote kills someone.

I also fear the rise of programmers who only learned Python, *.NET, and and who have no knowledge of how a computer actually works because "they only work with windows" (heard it before, it was pretty scary to chat with that guy).

why should a plumber learn dentistry? - I__
[+1] [2010-07-29 06:38:58] Santana

Fear of the wrong path.

Like this? if(...) { /* right! */ } else { /* wrong :( */ } - Brian S
[+1] [2010-07-29 08:48:32] jdizzle

That my mind will fray and I will not have the capacity to do what I do anymore and that I also haven't built up any other useful (read: management) skills to continue working in the field.

[+1] [2010-07-29 19:37:41] Jasconius

Having to do Java

Locked?! That's not fair I want to answer too :( - Nils
(3) duplicate: someone already answered with this: - C Johnson
[+1] [2010-07-27 19:51:35] Kreker

that i'm not doing the things like a pro dev or like they had to BE done

[+1] [2010-07-27 19:33:41] sTodorov

Using Magento and DotNetNuke :)

[+1] [2010-07-27 22:12:56] RHSeeger

Having to rewrite the whole system... again... in another language... using different toolsets/frameworks... all at once rather than in phases (replace one part, then the next)... because some upper level manager thinks their way is the best way and any other way is bad and needs to be replaced wholesale.

I have no problem trying new ways of doing things. What I have a problem with is totally abandoning the old way(s), tossing aside any lessons learned doing it that(those) way(s), and redoing the whole thing another way. At the very least, reimplementing specific (unrelated) components using the new technology to see how it works would be nice.

[+1] [2010-07-27 22:40:13] Ant

I’m afraid of losing grasp of what the customer wants and needs. There’s a big indescribable understanding built up in this project over 5 years.

I’m also afraid of losing rigour in development due to carelessness. I’ve seen good projects sink (and sinking) because developers not caring.

[+1] [2010-07-27 23:44:17] Daniel

Getting the paper in the morning and discovering that (probably indirectly) my code has made the front page for all the wrong reasons.

[+1] [2010-07-27 21:48:48] MattB

Not knowing something I feel I should know. Perhaps I'm just too hard on myself.

[0] [2010-07-27 21:53:11] George B.
  1. That I have to use object-oriented programming techniques, in MATLAB.
  2. That I try to implement something very time consuming, very hard and highly optimized just to find out later that it (or something even better) already exists (maybe hidden on some personal homepage) (a.k.a. reinventing the wheel). I'm glad that did not happen to me, yet. The positive thing is that at least I will learn some things:
    1. how this works and how to implement it, and
    2. next time use more time to Google it.

[0] [2010-07-27 21:01:07] Ankit Jain

OMG.. these Code Review Comments!

they're not that scary D: ...they can be beneficial :3 - townsean
[0] [2010-07-27 19:56:36] JB King

Someday, I'll run into God who will ask me to stop programming.


Some of my code causes the apocalypse that ends civilization as we know it.

(1) Nothing to be afraid of, the current universe is just a prototype. - Gamecat
[0] [2010-07-27 20:00:34] Thomas Levesque

Mutable value types in .NET

[0] [2010-07-29 19:15:29] Ed Guiness

Getting caught in an endless loop of revising estimates to fit a predetermined but secret number, having offshore developers assigned to my project before requirements are understood, having management debating which technology to use six weeks into the project...

[0] [2010-07-29 19:32:05] user279521

That I wont be able to keep up with the new technologies and Web 3.0 stuff (like integrating Twitter and Facebook and iPhone apps etc). I started with VB4.0 and have come along way, but back then it was just front end vb and back end sql. You actually had time to go out and enjoy life on the weekends. These days its silverlight or web 2.0 or mvc or F# or something new that I need to get upto speed on. There is no time for a vacation or to take a break. UGH !!

(1) I gotta tell you, F# is just plain fun to write. There are so many awesome features just waiting to be discovered. - ChaosPandion
[0] [2010-07-29 06:39:36] Ideveloper

That my one app will be killer of my previous one.

[-3] [2010-07-27 19:48:25] TheLQ

That I will have to learn C.

(11) *sigh. Another blind man who does not understand how a computer works. (Let us not start a flame war, hope to get your funny side) - Tom
(16) Let's not get so hasty Tom. Clearly he must think assembly is good enough. - Justin Ardini
(3) C has its place (the linux kernel for example), and thats a place that I would like not to go. - TheLQ
(5) Today I never use C anymore, but I wouldn't be a complete programmer if I hadn't learned it... - Thomas Levesque
(14) I rarely grow my own wheat for bread, but if I hadn't ever gone from seed to bread, I wouldn't be a complete bread eater. Now I'm learning how to make toilets. - Yar
(1) @Yar Best comment I've seen in a while! - Josh Stodola
You should probably do at least one substantial program in C at some point. You'll have a new appreciation for everything you're used to. - gtrak
@Gary: Thats the issue. I've never figured out why people have said "You should slit your wrists working with C, and then you'll appreciate everything about high level language X. " Besides an extra thing to put on your resume, whats the advantage of knowing a language thats only a step up from assembly? - TheLQ
(3) I went to a talk once with Yale Patt, a leader in Computer Architecture. HE said that the problem with today's programming scene is people are afraid to function at multiple levels of abstractions. I think that if you are ever to do anything complicated or original on a computer, it would save a lot of time, and make things that seem impossible possible. I just don't think it would hurt you too much. The other issue is any time you deal with a leaky abstraction, you'll have an edge. Let me put it another way, why do surgeons learn biology when all they do is cut? - gtrak
@Gary, That analogy sure seems fishy. But in any case, the vast majority of programmers are not -- from Pratt's perspective -- doing anything complicated nor original. The leaky abstractions argument holds to some extent, but while as a surgeon I might need SOME knowledge of how to make a scalpel from metal ore, if I don't have a perfect cutting surface, those metallurgy classes from college are not going to be the fastest way to get one. Better to work on social skills and winking. - Yar
@Yar: the thing is, while a surgeon doesn't need to know how his tools were made, he needs to know what they can do. - Michael Foukarakis
@mfukar, that's kind of my point. A surgeon (or whatever analogy we're into) needs to really get into his tools, their limits, why one is stronger than the other, under what conditions they won't work, etc. But still, he doesn't need to move beyond his level of analysis and start MAKING SHIT at a different level. I just doubt that struggling with the arbitrariness of another language (e.g., implementing a list structure in C) helps you with the issues you need to handle in Java or any higher level language. There are limit cases, of course, where the guy who knows C wins, but they are rare. - Yar
I'm not sure if I would hire a programmer who did absolutely nothing in C so far.. Since he will be just useful to work on easier problems.. and have no idea how the machine works.. - Nils
(1) @Thomas Levesque: "Today I never use C anymore, but I wouldn't be a complete programmer if I hadn't learned it..." I wouldn't be a complete programmer if I never bought an ancient programmable calculator and hadn't done assembly programming for an obscure chip/platform as a kid. But it doesn't mean that every programmer should learn how to program that calculator and do assembly the way I did (on that thing you had to type numbers directly in octal mode without any editor or undo). Same goes with C. Some people need it, and some don't. - SigTerm
@SigTerm, this is hardly comparable... C has been a mainstream language for decades, it's not "assembly programming for an obscure platform". Sure, you can probably be a decent programmer without knowing C, but C makes you understand a lot of things about how a computer works internally. High level languages provides a convenient abstraction of low level stuff, but sometimes you need to understand how things work under the cover in order to write efficient code - Thomas Levesque
(1) @Thomas Levesque: "this is hardly comparable.." I disagree, because I got my low-level understanding from that "assembly for obscure platform". Also, writing self-modifying code and division/multiplication programs was fun. I could honestly say that writing assembly by inputting octal numbers instead of mnemonics "makes you understand a lot of things about internals". Do not forget that there are many different ways to get/reach the same knowledge/skill, learning C isn't the only way to discover "how things work under the cover". you can learn same thing using different language. - SigTerm
@SigTerm, point taken. I had misunderstood the meaning of your previous comment - Thomas Levesque
I dont understand why the answer "that i might one day have to learn java" got 107 up votes till now and that "I will have to learn C. " got 6 down votes. Both answers were non-judgmental, hence the reaction is interesting. Personally i can understand better that people who have no experiences in C are more afraid of learning it than people with no skills in Java to learn it because its easier and readable. Thats suprising, or perhaps its only injured vanity of skilled C-programmers ;) - Tim Schmelter
@Tim: Its mainly because C programmers are extremely cocky. Most think that everything should be written in C, while most java people that I know recognize the limitations of their language and don't push it on others at every single moment that they can. Whats funny though is that my comment "*sigh. Another blind java hater" got 89 upvotes. - TheLQ
(2) +1 :-) I thought this was a joke at first, like "my biggest fear is that I'll to learn Java", "well, mine is that I'll have to learn C". Well, mine is that I'll have to learn assembly and stop writing machine code directly in a hex editor! - Dean Harding
Don't know why I didn't post this before:… - TheLQ
[-3] [2010-07-27 20:47:54] SigTerm

There are two or three things in the world I'm VERY afraid of, but they all have nothing to do with programming. Except those two or three things I fear absolutely nothing. So I don't have a programming fear.

(Almost?) Every bad/horrible/horryfying programming event or experience can be used to learn or gain something. So there is nothing to be afraid of. In any event you can always remember that "this too shall pass".