Here’s a thought: is it possible for a computer programmer to work part-time? It’s a serious question because programming is not like other trades - once you build a house, for example, it’s built; there is no going back and re-pouring the foundation and moving to make it a better, more efficient house. When a programmer is given a problem to solve, they can continue to improve, optimize and re-factor their solution nearly indefinitely.

In reality, software engineering is probably much more similar to writing than to engineering, despite what the academics may say. In theory the projects we build are finite, have measurable outcomes and test cases, and at the end of it the either “work properly” or they don’t. They can be planned to the most minute of details. But then you have to program them - a skilled programmer can make the pieces fit together like clockwork while a poor programmer can ruin the outcome.

Seeing a project through to fruition takes patience, time, communication and commitment. It’s nice to say the documentation is complete and the design is frozen but that ignores the human aspect of the business. As time passes, the client will think of new ways to integrate the software we write into their business - suggesting changes that might improve the quality and value of our code. If we are properly aware of our limits and open to suggestion this need not be scope creep.

So - can it be done part time?