This morning I rode with Uber. Long story short, my transit tracking job did the poor job of showing up-to-date status of my regular bus and I missed it by few seconds.
I am usually not a big conversation starter, especially when it comes to small talk, I barely pass. However, things started on a good note. We started chatting about jobs and experience and how Uber and Lyft pay to drivers. Unfortunately I could not tell him which one is better from drivers' perspective. (Although personally I like Uber better since rides are $4-5 cheaper than Lyft)
In the flow of conversation when he realized I write computer programs, he was really excited. Apparently he made this assumption that programming jobs are easy to find. I told him I love my job and it's really exciting how the work we do reaches to millions of people across the world. It's all about passion and how much you get involved in the task. I have been doing serious programming for last 6 years and I love every bit of it.
He was curious about if his high-school kid could learn programming now. He was really worried that bad economy might not help the family unless they know programming. In my opinion, learning very narrow skills is not feasible in programming field. You got to keep learning new stuff every day, get involved in open source and do the side projects. It was really great to learn that he wanted to teach his kid how to program from an early age. Earlier you learn, better you grasp the nuances of language and algorithms.
Our journey was coming to an end and conversation was going delightfully smooth. At the end I gave him links to Lynda.com and Khan Academy where he or his kid could enroll and learn basics of computer programming and algorithms. I hope my conversation with him will help him going forward. It never hurts to learn something new, and I am excited to know that there are parents who would take special interest in letting their kids learn these concepts from an early age.