Origin Stories

Bethany Nowviskie

You Know More Than You Can Comfortably Say

And that’s okay – but it probably makes you less generous than you’d like to be.

The way I look at it, anyone who asks you, “How do I get started in humanities software development?” has already started, and is perfectly capable of finding textbooks and how-to guides on her own. What would happen to your default response if you re-framed the question? It’s too easy to offer a bewildering array of concepts to grasp and languages to learn, and thereby fall into the trap of sounding like someone performing expertise and policing boundaries.

Consider answering questions like this instead:

  • What do you do in this work every day, but rarely talk about?
  • When did you realize you’d learned something really worthwhile?
  • What do you know in your heart about building tools and systems?
  • Where do you find inspiration and community for your work?
  • Why (in all seriousness) do you want to participate in this conversation at all?