Sunday, 18 November 2012

JavaProgrammer javaProgrammer = new JavaProgrammer(Rebecca);

The poet Milton was a bit of a bastard, and one of the ways he expressed this was by teaching his daughters to read, as in to pronounce out loud, Greek, so that by listening to them he could save his failing eyesight; but he did not teach them to read, as in understand, Greek, because they were girls. The way I feel about the things I'm learning at the moment at work is a bit like they might have felt if someone had suddenly decided to teach them Greek vocabulary and grammar. There are things I've been using for ages as just things that exist -- I'm thinking predominantly of XML, but other things too -- and now I'm beginning to learn how to manipulate the things that underlie them. "Why shouldn't you have your own RESTful web service?" said one of the contractors to me the other day. "Everyone else has one." So I'm learning how to write one, and I'm going to make my own as part of a big task I'm doing. Part of this involves learning how to eat XML. And when I know how to do this I will be able to go out onto the web and eat any XML I feel like, and use APIs, and do cunning things. It's all quite complex and it will take me years of learning to be good at it, but my department has a training budget (in terms of both money and time), and I will get the chance to sort these things out. Some people who sit near me are working through the Java Sun certification exams, which is something we are encouraged to do. I am feeling very good about this. I think I had thought of the M.Sc. year as my chance to learn things, and then I would do a job where I would put those things I had learnt into practice, but I probably couldn't get away with doing any more real serious learning until I retire (when I'm going to do a theology degree). What I hadn't realised was that the M.Sc. was just scratching the surface and setting us up for continuing to learn very similar material in more depth while working. Some of it's very complex and challenging stuff -- I'm thinking of design patterns in particular, which are logical ways of making systems which can be easily extended and altered. Deep down, what I like doing is learning things.

Of course all jobs have a honeymoon period, and after a couple of years you start to see how the politics work, and get depressed about that, but at present I am enjoying the Met Office hugely. I also get to do some metereological training, which is cool.

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