Andrew's Adventures In Coderland


October 14th, 2019

1 hr 26 secs

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About this Episode


Software development is a unique profession in many ways, and it has given rise to its own subculture due to the unique sets of challenges that face developers. Andrew Smith is an author who is working on a book to share his experiences learning to program, and understand the impact that software is having on our world. In this episode he shares his thoughts on programmer culture, his experiences with Python and other language communities, and how learning to code has changed his views on the world. It was interesting getting an anthropological perspective from a relative newcomer to the world of software.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Andrew Smith about his anthropological study of software engineering culture in his upcoming book Adventures In Coderland.


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by describing the scope and intent of your work on Adventures In Coderland?
  • What was your motivation for embarking on this particular project?
  • Prior to the start of your research for this book, what was your level of familiarity with software development as a discipline and a cultural phenomenon?
  • How are you approaching the research for this book and to what level of detail are you trying to address the problem space?
  • What are some of the most striking contrasts that you have identified between software engineers and coding culture as it compares to that of a layperson?
  • We met at the most recent PyCon US, which I understand you attended as a means of conducting research for your book. What are some of the notable aspects of the Python community that you discovered while you were attending?
  • What are some of the other programming communities that you have engaged with?
    • What are some of the differentiating factors that you have noticed between the communities that you have interacted with?
  • What are some of the most surprising discoveries that you have made in the process of writing this book?
  • What is your metric for determining when you have gathered enough raw material to complete the book?
  • Now that you have delved into the peculiarities of "coderland", how has it changed your own outlook on both the software industry, and society at large?
  • What advice do you have for the engineers who are listening as it pertains to your experiences in writing your book?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA