What Do I Do?  

vrec_dawn 39M
854 posts
9/8/2006 3:33 pm

Last Read:
9/17/2006 2:03 pm

What Do I Do?

So some of you may wonder what I actually do for a living. Believe it or not, I'm a computer programmer. Oooh. Ahhh. Ever so exciting. NOT!

But it does have its fun moments. I'm working inhouse for a very cutting-edge scientific company. They actually make analytical x-ray hardware. Not like for hospitals, but more like for pharmaceuticals. Basically, a chemist decides to mix up some stuff that hopefully will be the next wonder drug. But chemistry isn't always an exact science. So once they have their wicked concoction, they dry some to grow crystals. Then, taking a teeny-tiny crystal smaller than a grain of salt, they stick it into our machine. And using software that I help write, they try to make sense of it and eventually come out with the chemical formula for how all they put into it bonded, so that they know exactly what they have.

Basically, I'm a user-interface specialist, which is only a title I've bestowed myself because "general programmer" sounds so droll. But I write software that helps display data so that scientists can visualize where things are right and where things are wrong. And, in the end, they get neato structure images like those ball-and-stick molecule models from science class. The image in this post is directly from my software. I made that.

So that's what I do all day. I play in Python and Qt and make software that gets info from hardware and turns it into pretty pictures, hopefully with an interface easy enough to understand that even chemistry students can use it.

Or maybe more appropriately, I make toys for scientists. Miles of data is useful, but playing with software to look at data is something they're only starting to appreciate. I dare say my company is doing a lot to change how scientists view software. Which is a good thing. Raw numbers are boring.

It also occurs to me how much I take for granted how awesome my job really is. I mean I work with PHDs. Hell, I work with some of the most brilliant people in the field of crystallography! Like for example I hope to one day help put a 3D OpenGL front-end onto Dr. George M. Sheldrick's XP. I'm honored to interact with him of course, but until now it totally didn't even dawn on me that someone that renowned and educated and just amazing treats me with respect. He's just a great guy. And I got to work with Dr. Robert Sparks before he tragically died. And I don't even think anything of how rare of an opportunity this is!

I mean here I am literally caught up in the change of how this field of science works. I was right there at the inception of the field of Proteomics and was a small part of what made it possible! And I don't even think about how awesome that is. It's like, just part of the job. How weird is that? Am I fucked up that I don't die from how awesome it really is to be a part of all that? I never really appreciated just how cool, special, and amazing that is until now.

Yet at the same time, it's still not enough to make me happy. I mean the job is great. The opportunity awesome. But it just doesn't fulfill my creative side enough. Writing would help a lot there, but honestly, the job is so intellectually draining that most days I just don't have anything left to give to my writing. It's sad. I wish somehow I could find the time and energy for both. But then even if I did, what else would I have to give up to have that? Life is a juggling act. It's all about priorities.

sexymermaid6956 62F
26390 posts
9/9/2006 8:44 am

this is a neat post...gotta love a brain like yours ...wow


Seduce my mind and my body

vrec_dawn replies on 9/9/2006 6:23 pm:
Wow. Thanks. I've always thought of it as my job's mission to turn stodgy old scientists into little kids with new toys on Christmas. I'm going to miss this job, but as challenging as it is intellectually, most day it's also just boring. I need something more creative. But still, I'll miss it. Plus it's finally starting to pay well, which I'll also miss. Authors don't make a dime compared to senior software engineers. Oh well. Money isn't everything. It just pays for most things.

rm_Jacanaa 60F

12/22/2006 11:52 am

This post amazed and impressed me. Even though I cannot comprehend every aspect of it I can admire the man who can not only do the job but can express himself as well. It is also special to read of someone appreciating what he has...whether it be his brain...his job...his abilities...rather than complain about them. Very refreshing.

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