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The amazing vi/word ratio :)

When interviewing or welcoming someone new I usually mention a self-coined measuring description of the kind of job she or he will be doing.

I named this the “vi/word ratio”.

This is a ratio between the time you spend in low level work (hence using tools like vi) or in high level work (represented with Microsoft Word)

For example, if the new guy will be interviewing external or internal customers and redacting new requisites for a mobile app, he will for sure have a low vi/word ratio: most of the time, if not all, using Office-like tools, not necessarily Microsoft Word, but high level tools.

The new girl who will be in care of the development network automation tools, continuous integration, testing, IDEs… will have instead a high vi/word ratio; of course, maybe she’s not actually using vi (weird people out there prefer emacs :-)) , but tools in the same “toolset level” like nslookup, bash scripting, docker… even SoapUI, REST clients, web-based tools like Jenkins CI or SonarQube, although evidently not command-line, green-over-black screen tools, can be assimilated into the same set of obscure, extremely technical software programs. So they sum up in the numerator of the ratio.

Why high level tool usage generates a low vi/word ratio can seem counterintuitive. Of course, if you like this simple concept, you can just turn it to word/vi ratio. It’s just that I didn’t like how it sounded 🙂 🙂

Usually you start your computer science career from a high vi/word ratio and navigate towards a low vi/word as you go up in the chain of command.

In my experience, there will be some jobs with a 0 ratio (0/whatever) filled with sad workers that are not in touch with tecnology anymore or don’t like to get their hands dirty. 🙂

What I have not found are jobs with a 0 denominator (whatever/0). If somebody says he does not use office-like tools or evolutioned email clients he’s lying. And everybody knows you can’t divide by zero, the result is undefined.

In my case, if you’re curious, my ratio is an interesting 40/60 🙂 I’m usually like a hub, routing emails between internal customers and external consultants. Then, as a big nerd myself, I move down from the world Office, Project, PDF, requirement gathering, project managing tools to the sudo, tcpdump, jstack, truss, vi… command line (or -like) tools to help solve problems or test out new technologies. Which is why I’m in… 😉

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