Archive for June 2014

Communication – why Perfect Notes is good at this and why you should care

June 2, 2014

I read an interesting article on programmers and communication recently here.  It highlights an issue that, while it is real, is also something that customers often perceive to be an absolute truth – that to be a good programmer, you necessarily have poor communication skills in relation to people.

In the earliest days of programming, there was no such thing as a high level programming language or a Personal Computer (PC).  There were only multimillion dollar main frames, the size of a building (and then a house and then a room) and this was probably true – mostly because of the dedication and perseverance required to become a programmer.  In those days programmers had to understand and program in binary and this is a long way removed from how people think.  As coding and machines have developed, and IT has become an accepted department of all major businesses, this has become far less true.  With the advent of more intuitive and consistent higher level programing languages and far more universal operating systems (Cobol, Basic, Unix,  C++) programmers became far less specialist.  I mean this in the sense of not tied to a single language or operating system or even in the early days a single computer.  And now with truly high level languages Java, Python, Visual Basic, Delphi, Perl, PHP, ECMA Script, Ruby and many others, and a strong commonality of conventions and nomenclature, programmers are far more mobile and adaptable.  And they have far more to do with the customer.

And then there is the WEB.  Doing anything on the web requires constant contact with the customer.  Now that we mostly don’t code in straight HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and we use Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Drupal or WordPress or Plone in order to keep the complexity of a modern dynamic web site under control, we constantly need to tweak things to a customer’s requirements.  We need to tell them what’s possible, what’s easy and sometimes we need to tell them what’s possible but really not worth the effort to achieve.

When you need to talk to other departments or to clients about your work, you have to have better communication skills – so the standards have improved.  Most programmers starting their working lives recently have good people skills, as it is now a requirement.

Then you have people like us at Perfect Notes – none of us have spent our entire working lives as programmers or technicians, so we have better communication skills than you might think! Our ability to translate computer issues into normal language is one of our advantages – and a big reason why we have a number of customers who would happily confess to being non-technical who are very happy with the support we give them.

So if you are having issues understanding the people who look after your computer(s), why not talk to us and see if we can help you out?