I came across an article about hating programmers on Del.icio.us the other day, and it describes my most recent dealings with "programmers". I’ve never described myself as a programmer, and most who know me would say this is a good thing, because there are others who can write better, faster, more efficient, more elegant code than I could ever imagine doing. I’ve always described what I do as trying to build a solution for a particular group of people doing a set of particular tasks. (This is a very goal-directed view of behaviour, no particular surprise given that my biggest influences stem from Newell – Simon ). While Zed’s rant is about specifically about statistics, it covers some any misconcepts that run rampant in our profession (I’m quilty of some including using the powers-of-10 arguments, so I really take to heart our adoption of these misconceptions).
Successful software development is so much more than programming. Or maybe better put programming is so much more than being able to write code. Joel Spolsky calls himself a programmer. This is reinforces for me the breadth of knowledge and understanding to be a successful "programmer" (check out the list of books on Joels bookshelf ). Good programmers know (of) programming, mathematics, project management and pitfalls, craftmanship, business, users, and the eco-system that encompasses all of our software projects.