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Things to program, programming

A list of tasks should you bother to hire a programmer to solve for you.

Written by Jon Berg <jon.berg|a|turtlemeat.com>

The main cost of automating information processing tasks is the creation of the software. "To hire a programmer is expensive", but this is most of the cost you have. Actually the price of the programmer if it is high or low, is given on how much it saves to automate the task. Not in the amount of dollar per hour. Running programs on machines and using network bandwidth and storage is almost free compared. If you order software that is a solution for some types of problems you will greatly overcome the cost of developing the software.

The list of task you should focus on solving:

  • things you spend a lot of time on - If you spend 40% or more of your working day doing something a machine could do it may be wise to make a program of the task. (And then fire you.)
  • things that are boring to do - If you have the money it could be comfortable to make a program to your boring tasks. It do not always make sense economically to be lazy. It could be worth it if your day gets more enjoyable.
  • things that cost more than to hire people to do manually, than it cost to hire a programmer to design,implement and test. It makes no sense to program if you can hire people cheaper. This could be the case if the programming job would be very big and expensive or you have access to a lot of people that can work minimum wage.
  • things that are too complicated to do for a human - Somebody have to solve how the task is done in the first place, make the algorithm. But a human is very limited in dealing with problems that have a large complexity.
  • things that need precision- It somewhat the same as the point above. Some tasks a human may be to clumsy to do, computer programs are used to build CPUs, cars with smooth curves, airplanes with perfect aerodynamics and so on.
  • things that have to be done in a huge volume - If there is a task that has to be done over and over a lot of times in the millions, it may be wise to program it.
  • let the computers do what they are good at - Computers are good at numbers, and defined logic. Is very poor at reasoning, being creative, dealing with tasks that change in the ways they are done.


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