Why I’m Leaving Physical Therapy (Part 2)

Physical therapy has barely changed since Sister Elizabeth Kenny was treating polio patients by applying hot compresses and passively moving their legs. That was around 100 years ago. Sure, certain fads have come and gone, but the anatomy, physiology and biomechanics of physical therapy remain largely unchanged. Many of the treatments we use today are the same treatments my 50- or 60- year old co-workers learned when they were in college. In other words, there really isn’t that much more to learn after graduating.

One of the biggest things I’m looking forward to as a developer, is continuing to learn the craft. The thought of one day being surrounded by people much smarter than me is exciting. I really enjoy chatting with these types of people, asking questions and understanding how they solved a problem. That is one aspect of physical therapy I might end up missing; meeting people who have done really cool stuff.

For instance, I had a patient who worked for Motorola, developing what would essentially become the modern-day cell phone. The main problem his team worked on was tower hand-off. When a user is connected to a tower, and moves, how does the phone transition to the next tower without dropping the call?

Another patient worked for a government contractor, creating some of the first GPS-guided missiles. His team spent a lot of time testing various chips against the harsh environment inside the missile until they found one that worked. Then, they wrote the program that would check the missile’s GPS position against the expected GPS position and make the appropriate corrections in real time. He did this all in assembly.

Another patient worked on a team that was developing Voice Over IP technology. She eventually had the opportunity to work on telecommunications and VOIP in the White House for a number of years.

Another patient worked on ARPANET, essentially helping to invent the internet.

The list goes on and on. The main point is these people were really smart and they worked really hard to get really good at their craft. They worked on teams with other really smart people (who also worked really hard to get really good at their craft) to do amazing things. And I hope to do something similar in the future. I might not end up reinventing the cell phone or the internet, but working really hard to get good at programming and having the opportunity to work alongside other really smart people to create something that didn’t exist before would be (in a word) awesome.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *