Published: October 25, 2022 • Updated: July 21, 2023 • 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, headset, microphone, and webcam your budget allows. If you have to choose one, invest in the computer and collect the peripherals later.
In other desk jobs, there’s a frugality about hardware. “I’m just editing spreadsheets– I don’t need a powerful computer.” Programming is different. It’s resource-intensive work. In the web development, 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 time running a test suite can add up to hours wasted per year. It could also cause you to get distracted 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 lesser quality new computer today.
Start out being frugal in other areas, like your desk or chair. Invest in your computer.
What are your thoughts on hardware economy? Let me know!
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