I was having my hair cut yesterday (I was picking up number one daughter and I thought it might be good if she was actually able to recognise me) and the girl doing the cutting asked me what I did. I told her and she said that she had no real idea what computer programming was. A few years ago I would have had a problem at this point, because it used to be kind of hard to explain what computers were actually used for. Nowadays it is much easier. I just had to mention the Xbox 360 and PS3 and say that we produce students who write the games that go into them.
Afterwards I had a think about this and the way I see it, computer programmers now write the stuff that makes pretty much everything work. Just about any device that you buy with a mains plug will have a computer processor in it, as do all cars and so on.
When I started in this business we had one computer at the university, nowadays I don't think anybody knows how many there are on campus. I had no idea when I started in this business, but I'm very glad that I did, because it really is the stuff that makes the future go.
Of course, we also produce the stuff that makes it hard to print out things, but I'll let that pass for now. (Actually, and this is a tip for all Photoshop Elements users, if you want to make a book of pictures you don't actually want to make a Picture Book, you want to make a Collage. A Picture Book is pre-formatted for an on-line printing service, whereas a collage is just a themed collection of pictures which can span several pages).