Published: October 25, 2022 • 2 min read
Some advice I offer people entering the programming profession is to buy the best hardware you can. You’re going to need it.
Get the most powerful computer, the biggest monitor, the best keyboard, mouse, and headset your budget allows. If you have to choose, invest in the computer and collect the peripherals later.
In other knowledge-work fields, there’s a frugality about hardware. “I’m just editing spreadsheets– I don’t need a supercomputer.” Programming is different. It’s resource-intensive work. On the web, not only are you running multiple servers and processes, you might be running containerization software, multiple browsers, automated tests, and supporting tools like documentation and screenshot software.
If you’re going to be fast, your computer has to be fast, too. One extra second of server response time costs more than the hours you’ll waste per year. It could also cause you to get sidetracked and frustrated when your brain is already working overtime and you need it most.
I know some good engineers who develop on five, six, seven-year-old computers. How can that work? It works because they bought the absolute best machines they could back then, and they’re still better than a low-quality computer today.
Start out being frugal in other areas, like your desk or chair. Invest in your computer.
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Blog of Jake Worth, software engineer in Maine.