Why is Aaron Jay Lev, THE rock star programmer? I’ll tell you… it’s partly by accident and partly by design. But isn’t all of life like that? Some thing you can control and some things you can’t? The first time I called myself a Rock Star programmer was not my words but the works of someone else.
If I am applying for a job position that is very important to me, I will optimize my resume to that opportunity. If it is a PHP position, my previous PHP experience is moved to the top, for Android/iOS, those positions are moved to the top. If it is heads down coding job or management position, I’ll try to emphasize that in my history. I have quite a bit experience in various technologies so there is leeway in my resume. For one position I was applying to in Boca Raton, FL, the job title was “Rock Star Programmer”, so THAT was listed as my career goal. The next few times my resume went out, I left the title and the name continued.
Then recently, I was wondering, “What are the similarities between a really good software engineer and a Rock Star Singer?”
Bad with Money? – Definitely! Somehow rock star performers will wind up broke if they negotiate deals themselves. Behind every successful rock star is a successful agent! I love what I do, but am often timid to ask someone to pay what I think it is worth. So I got myself an agent! Yes, I’m partnered with a friend of mine that is an awesome salesperson that will negotiation deals on my behalf. Between my friend and my wife, I know that my financial needs are being protected.
Love what they do? – Definitely! I sometimes dream in code! I’ll often think about refactoring algorithms to make them more effective, or think about making more efficient database designs. I heard Valerie Bertineli say that Van Halen used to move his fingers like he was playing the guitar when he slept. I’ll often wake up at 2:00 am and look for the nearest keyboard.
Would do it for free? – I’ve heard Bon Jovi has done free concerts for deserving children from time to time. I even attended a free Lewis Black concert in Salt Lake City! I was having dinner at a small restaurant (the only one still open in town) and Lewis Black wanders inside. Some locals had arranged an open mic night and he performed his “A” material for an hour. I’ve done more than my fair share of charity work, because I thought it was a good cause, and just because I wanted to help and thought it would be fun. I have too many personal projects to count! Mostly I just like the challenge of solving puzzles.
Good in Math? – You bet! Playing music, doing math, and software engineering are very similar to the brain. Music is connecting the abstract idea of a note with another abstract idea of the fingering on the flute or strumming the guitar. Math connects abstract formulas and concepts to other formulas and concepts. Software engineering connects software code to the abstract idea of software. If you are interviewing someone for a software development position and you have a good feeling about them, I would bet they also play and instrument and are good in Math as well.
Fussy? – Unfortunately, yes! Why do rock stars NEED a bowl of M&M’s with only the green ones? Who knows? Who cares? They are really good at what they do, and they just want to have their needs met. If they know you are taking care of the details, they can focus on what they do best. My list? Here goes: Ice, Ice Tea, Quiet Work area, Comfy work chair with adjustable height and arm rest, 32″ monitor, scissor switch or chicklet style keyboard, Microsoft Wireless Mouse Wireless 4000, Mousepad with wristrest, room lights not too bright, no direct sunlight, fast internet, large desk, and keyboard drawer under the desk. Too much to ask? OK, I’ll bring my own ice from 7-eleven in my 100 oz big gulp cup. It holds a liter of ice and 2 liters or drink! The ice will even stay in the cup for 12 or so hours. I bring my own keyboard and mouse, hotspot on my phone, chair from home and mousepad. Basically, just put my in a place with fast internet or let me work at starbucks!
Until 20,000 people show up for me to debug a webpage or so, I think that’s the end of the similarities between myself and a rock star. It’s always good to dream big and try to do good things in the world.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.