Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Life, 40 months post completing a CSE degree

I passed out of my engineering college with full honors, my laziness and apathy notwithstanding. I saw myself as a huge reservoir of talent and knew the industry would bamboozle me with opportunities to showcase my flair. I was extremely confident of bumping into able and like-minded individuals who shall embolden my prospects further. And yet, after a point of time, I knew life wasn't going to be as beatific and dazzling as it seemed in our dreams. So while a few deserving ones worked strenuously to get those 'real' jobs, I had to bail out and move towards the supposedly greener pastures in life. I had to abdicate most of the computing acumen, as a result. So how would someone like me relate to terms and technology that was once so colloquial that it was your sine qua non? Well, this is how it changed for me.  

1. Firewalls

Okay, you still know them because whenever your workstation fails to load mail, your IT guy is woken off his siesta and he does a few mechanical things and gets the mail loading again. Or he raises a ticket, which leads to more tickets, and more tickets, till the time you find out a solution yourself. After all, the engineer in you never died, did he? But this is what firewalls look like nowadays.

2. Null Pointer

Ah, how often did you witness this eerie little devil come into picture with your code not running despite you getting everything right? You did all things right and used breaks to analyze the step by step operation only to find that a dastardly null pointer was to be taken care of. And you did know how to send it to perdition,. But this is how null pointer looks like today.. 

3. This Pointer

At first you were perplexed but later on you used it so regularly that you didn't even know that you were using it. This pointer became a part and parcel of most of your high level code and before you knew it, this pointer became no more than 'this' below.

4. Garbage Collector

You were amazed to know that you won't have to flush and free memory space in Java because garbage collection was now an advanced feature handled by the framework itself. But your brush with garbage collection was always an exciting confrontation in C when the output was a little more than just disheartening. Luckily, you've got these guys to handle the garbage collection nowadays.

5. Preemptive Scheduling

Priority queuing seemed so ecclesiastical and effervescent that you'd learn new constructs to play with the operating system's kernel level functions to schedule tasks. Your programming tasks were no more than hirelings in front of OS level programs but you still enjoyed queuing your stack of small programs and ending up empty handed because the program executed in no time and the scheduling didn't have no visible effect. Well, not to worry anymore. Any public queue you join in has someone . or the other who would use their power or position and jump the queue. And sometimes, like it happened with Chiranjeevi, you can crash into a gatekeeper deployed by the operating system itself.

So, just in case this makes you feel nostalgic, don't shy away from putting in a comment or two on how even today, that quirky little argot from those CSE days makes its presence feel every now and then.


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