The Programmer's Computer August 21, 2018

Mac, Windows, Linux. Everyone has an idea of what type of computer makes a developer. Social media is covered with pictures of 4k displays and brand new MacBooks. Technology sites are always talking about the newest computers and updated hardware. But these expensive laptops, monitors and desks are not what make a great developer’s computer. The programmer’s best computer is the one they have. Modern computers can handle most everything you throw at it and external displays are helpful but not necessary for programming.

Before dropping hundreds to thousands on computer equipment, try to use what you have. It might not be as sexy or cool looking but it will work. If you are getting a new computer to start programming what is wrong with your current one? Windows and you want to get a Mac? Try dual booting Linux to get a more Mac like development environment without the price tag. Poor battery life? Try replacing the battery for much cheaper than a new laptop. Actually need a new computer? Buy it, just make sure you can afford it. Don’t buy a new laptop to become a developer or to improve, buy it because you need to replace your old one or you want it.

This really is a message to myself, I’ve been eyeing new computers a lot recently. Even though I have an old working Thinkpad X1 Carbon, I just don’t like the keyboard layout. Do I need a new computer? No. Will I get a new one? Not yet.

How about you? What is your computer situation? Do you unnecessarily consider upgrading your computer? Disagree on buying a new computer?