When people ask your profession and you tell them that you work as software engineer, they would probably admire you for obvious reasons. Though, most of them wouldn’t have a detailed idea about your job and what you do at work. This is more evident particularly if you work in VFX, animation and game sectors.
Sometimes they ask you what you do in your field and you may tent to give them a quick summary with layman’s terms. If you are not a front-end or mobile app developer for instance, the conversation can be a bit longer then expected, since explaining things might be difficult.
When I get asked by people about what I do for living, I answer them just like any other person in the field. Though, I personally lean towards problem solving part of it by saying I do solve problems by all means available to me when they start asking details. Understandably not everybody able to get it since they are not in the sector. So I tell them a quick story to widen their view in software engineering when it comes to solving real life problems, which they can easily correlate with.
I moved to beautiful Vancouver, BC long ago from London, UK. The day I moved, my landlord in London was “sick” and he wasn’t able to show up to get the keys from me, inspect the flat and return my deposit. Instead, he sent his friend. His friend inspected the flat. He was amazed about the state of the flat because I was leaving it in perfect condition as I always do. He told me that, his friend, my landlord will transfer the deposit to my bank account. Well, I didn’t like the idea but I had no other choice since I had a plane to catch.
After I settled down in Vancouver, I contacted my landlord via email. He didn’t reply. I called him on his cell phone many times and of course he didn’t answer. Then I contacted his friend who inspected the flat to ask him whether he was aware of his friend’s scam. He wasn’t. He contacted him and asked him to pay the deposit back, but he failed to succeed. Of course there was nothing he could do even though he was extremely embarrassed and displeased with the situation.
It was obvious that, my landlord didn’t want to pay my deposit back, what a gentleman! After all, he knew I wasn’t going to spend thousands of dollars to go back to London to chase him and get my deposit back.
I knew though, he was running his own real estate business and he relied on his cell phone a lot. I mean, a lot! Justice had to be served swiftly and little did he know…
I downloaded Skype SDK (Software Development Kit) and I wrote a utility app very quickly. This app called my landlord’s cell number over and over again 24/7. When his phone started rigging, the app hanged up. When he answered the call, which he managed several times to do so even though it wasn’t easy, the app hanged up.
It didn’t take too long for him to figure out what was going on. He had his people contacted me via email saying that he’ll be paying my deposit back. So I just closed the app. He transferred my deposit to my bank account several days later.
When I want to do something, I use all means available to me. In this instance, I used my software development experience to come up with and idea, implement it, solve the problem and serve justice along side with it. Yes, I do not just look at it as “deposit”, it is justice.
When people hear my story, they can correlate with it because this is a real life problem, which could had been and had been solved by software development skills and this gives them an idea. Software is not just something that can be used for development of a website, an app, or a game. It’s more than that.
For us, software engineers and software developers, there is another take away though. We should essentially be problem solvers. We should see the big picture, show initiative to make things efficient and better for everyone by all means available to us.
And, nobody should believe that, a person half way around the world can’t touch their lives, particularly in this day and age.