So many times since learning the handful of technical skills I have, I’ve wished that I had been a little more double-plus-extra in my skills, capabilities, knowledge, and focus, so that I could’ve crafted some of the great creativity software that people rely on. I see these packages that people have put together and I’m dumbfounded with how they did it, and crestfallen that it wasn’t me.
Like, for instance, someone made a thing that can convert video into a stream of commands to control LED strings so one can display video in realtime on a self-assembled video wall. Others have written packages to control robots so they move organically like living things. And there are people who’ve created packages that generate solid models of objects from photographs, which you can send to 3D printers. I mean, these are great tools, but if I had just been totally dedicated to the cause of enabling and supporting others’ artistic expressions, I could’ve been The Guy Who Made Those.
But instead, now I only make glue.
I guess my fault is that I didn’t push myself into learning the fundamentals of programming in real languages, picking up the nuts-and-bolts of project planning, doing research and searching for components and libraries others have put out there to be assembled together like blocks. I didn’t find my communities. In fact, I eschewed (and still eschew) so many forums and online groups, preferring to do my magic in seclusion. I’ve had this fantasy of toiling away in darkness and solitude in order to build and to perfect my wonderful new widget creation, and then release it with “BAM Ta-Da! Here it is, world!”, hoping for a million accolades from people who want to know who this Wunderkinder is and where he came from.
That’s one helluva bullshit fantasy, and it’s unrealistic.
So don’t do that. Find the people who are doing interesting things and join them; you will learn as you catch up, but eventually you’ll contribute and become That Guy That Did a Thing.