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A Young C++ Programmer Lost His Hands

Joe always loved programming games and decided to start his career in a gaming industry

I knew Joe since he was a kid. Today he’s 26, and here’s Joe’s story.

Four years ago Joe’s got his BS degree in Computer Science. Joe always loved programming games and decided to start his career in a gaming industry. But here, in the East Coast, most of the IT shops are creating anything but games, and Joe moved to Los Angeles, where found his dream job in a small gaming company.
Spending 15 hours a day coding didn’t bother Joe – he’d spent time doing what he really enjoyed and even got paid for this!

Life was good for the short three years. Then he started feeling pain in his arms. Than it got worse. The doctors diagnosed a tough form of carpal tunnel syndrome. He tried regular doctors, chiropractors, acupuncture, even collagen injections into his wrists, but nothing really helped.

Since Joe was a good software developer his employer was nice enough to allow him continuing  working.  No, he wouldn’t type – he was telling other developers what to type and helped them in resolving issues. This year, because of the economic crisis that gaming company closed the doors.

During the holidays, Joe was visiting his folks here in Jersey, and I’ve seen him yesterday. His handshake is strong. He’s still open, friendly, optimistic… and out of work. Doctors suggests surgery, but don’t guarantee that he’ll be able to type again.

When I asked Joe, what’s next, he said, “I’m considering going back to school to get my Master’s degree and start teaching programming”.

Man, I want to help this guy to return back to software development!  This is so unfair seeing all these mediocre quickly baked programmers generating tons of mediocre code for living, while Joe, who dreamed about this job and has all the skills and experience has to stay out of work!

There’s got to be a way out, and here’s what I can think of:

1.    Joe should apply for a telecommute job. After getting and accepting an offer, he should hire a school or college student to be his hands. In this scenario, the employer doesn’t even have to know about Joe’s problems as long as the job gets done. Not too kosher, I know, but who said that the process of finding jobs is a kosher business?

2.    Joe can apply for a regular job in software, pass all the interviews and at the end honestly tell about his problem. Most of the potential employers won’t like it, but hey, every rejection brings us closer to our goal, right?

3.    Experiment with  Speech-to-Text programs that would allow Joe to turn the voice into the code. 

4.    Write the code manually, on paper, and use some OCR software to turn handwriting into code.

Now I’m asking for your advice – do you have any other than changing career suggestions to Joe? Please leave a comment to this blog or send me an email.

If you need a passionate C++/MFC developer, please write me a note at yfain11 at yahoo.com. Joe can either work in your office or telecommute. He may not be the one who types the code, but trust me, you can rely on this guy! Unfortunately, our firm doesn’t need C++ developers, but if Joe will decide to master Flex and Java, I’ll have better chances to help him out.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

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