Software As Art

I firmly believe software is an art. (And the product owners who realize that will be the most successful.) In fact, I hate using the title "software engineer". Besides, programming has never felt like engineering to me, maybe because there's no calculus involved (usually). "Software artisan" is closer, but does not sound any less pretentious. I've even seen "Code Samurai" which gets points for creativity, but not sure if I could call myself that with a straight face. I prefer "developer" if I'm in the company of those who know what that means, and for everyone else, "programmer" will do.

They say that artists will destroy the first 100 pieces that they do. In the same way, many programmers fight the urge to rewrite something they've written, almost immediately after it's completed.

Anyway, I was just reminded of this after coming across "The human programmer."

Maybe programmers are just like the 1950s musicians that lacked ... confidence, snatching desperately for public nobility. Thus far our attempts at title theft have been less successful than theirs, though not for lack of trying (e.g. software developer / architect / engineer). Like musicians, our work requires not only talent but years of practice, and we see ourselves as “different.” The average person cannot walk up to a piano, or a computer keyboard, and produce anything of value. Writers? Throw them in here too, certainly. Are reporters not a little too serious about being called “journalists”? Of course, this line of thought would annoy both of those professions, them being old, established, and respected compared to programming. How pathetic.

1 comment:

Chris S said...

Not that there is much meaning in a job title, but I've had many that work better for me than software engineer... Personally, I like Architect. It captures what I do ideally (although with the transition to legal, that will change)

Others titles that I have that I like - software artisan (very hip consulting company).