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Developers, programmers

Trivial question: If you write code for a living, what word do you use to describe what you do (regardless of your actual title)? Developer? Programmer?

For me, it depends a bit on who I'm talking to. For example, Grandma might more easily understand "computer programmer" than "software developer." Otherwise, some quick impressions:

Developer seems to be the more popular name these days, but sometimes conjures up the less-than-flattering image of "land developer."

Programmer seems to be out of favor because it suggests rote coding, but used in the sense of "The Pragmatic Programmers" it starts to sound better.
John
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
I pretty much do the same thing, when I talk to people within the community, I say developer.  When I talk to outsiders that don't know IT at all, I say programmer.

In my resume I often just say "Solutions Developer" because my skills are varied enough.
TravisO Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
If the person only has limited experience with computers and is mainly just a user I just say programmer. It seems in the end all they think of is 'He works with computers' and those that know what programming is thinks 'He types jibberish and the computer does stuff. He can hack into other people stuff.'  Differences and explainations of what you really do means absolute nothing as long as they can do what they want to do on a computer.

But to anyone with some amount of programming experience I'll say developer to signify that I do more than just write code.
TrippinOnIT Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
I feel too pretentious telling someone that I'm a "developer" or a "software engineer" or an "architect." There's nothing wrong with "programmer." I don't think it implies that you're a glorified typist -- obviously part of programming is thinking about what you need to program.

If someone wants more detail beyond "programmer," I try to give them an idea of what my job involves. But I don't think any of these inflated titles makes it sound more interesting.
JW
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
I never really thought of land developer as negative. Those people make big bucks.

Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
I'm a CTO/architect/technical lead.  When talking to non-industry people I tell them I'm a programmer.  Some developers take offense to it..

I think I inherited this from a mentor in my first job as a programmer, Ph.D, ex-professor hired as sr. developer/architect, and he simply called himself a programmer - and I think that would piss the people off who were clearly under him, but looked down on the title programmer.

Oh well..
Nimrod Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
How about Computer Scientist?
Vincent Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
My 1/4 byte on the subject

"Developer" in my worldview evokes a picture of a person producing bread and butter applications for immediate use by John Q public.

"Programmer" feels a more low level term reffering to meta-development ( namely development of stuff thats not directly for a end user but for George G. Developer )

Regards
Vivek
Vivek Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
Having been in the business before the term "Developer" came into vogue, it always struck me as a euphemism.
Mikkin
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
I think that programmer is by far the superior term.  It refers to something specific, programming computers.  Developer can refer to anything.  Carpenters don't call themselves wood developers, they have the pride to call themselves by what they are.  I think that we've all heard the old saying "if the name of your major includes the word 'science' then it isn't science".  Quite frankly I consider the use of the term developer disgusting, implying that programming is somehow an inferior job.  I have a whole lot more respect for garbage men than for sanitation engineers.
Tom C
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
"Code Monkey".
Robbert de Groot (aka Zekaric) Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
A developer?

Or are you a code monkey?

I'm a programmer.
The Spirit of the Electoral College Send private email
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
"Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers...."
S. Balmer
Friday, May 18, 2007
 
 
software asshat

Saturday, May 19, 2007
 
 
For non IT people is just tell them I make computer programms and websites.
Henry Send private email
Saturday, May 19, 2007
 
 
The problem with "programmer" is that the actual act of programming is the least of my tasks.

I talk to customers and figure out requirements.
I define system architectures.
I create task estimates and help prioritize tasks.
I explore new technologies.
I brainstorm solutions when my team is stuck.
I make sure my team is running effectively.
And I write code.

"Programmer" doesn't really seem to cut it there.
Chris Tavares Send private email
Saturday, May 19, 2007
 
 
To those polite people I'm introduced to I say I "just work with computers".

In the business, people know my name and I don't need a title.

On my resume I've actually removed all attempts at titles, and instead just summarise the projects and my part in them.
architecture astronaut
Saturday, May 19, 2007
 
 
Chris Tavares,

how is that different from any other job?  I am friends with two brothers who are carpenters.  One is a skilled carpenter who makes high-end furniture for rich people, you know with inlaid compass roses and the like.  The other went to digipen and uses 3d modeling software to generate designs for their products.  He also worked with his brother but due to company politics never got to advance.  They are almost done building their own workshop and will start off with small products to make some cash and get their name out while building up a showroom full of their best work.  Let's see how that compares with your list:

yep: I talk to customers and figure out requirements.
yep: I define system architectures.
yep: I create task estimates and help prioritize tasks.
yep: I explore new technologies.
yep: I brainstorm solutions when my team is stuck.
yep:  make sure my team is running effectively.
nope: And I write code. (but they make furniture)

So should they be called wood developers?  They do more than nailing 2x4s together.  No, they are carpenters.
Tom C
Saturday, May 19, 2007
 
 
Tom C - agreed.

A programmer might very welll do other things besides the actual act of sitting down and "programming", but if the job essentially is to build software and put the code together yourself and with others, then programmer is what you are.

I never thought Sink's argument about programmer/developer semantics had much depth.

Yes, programmers who can think for themselves and execute on total delivery in terms of the products and the team they're working on are *still* programmers. Only they're *good* programmers.
HS Send private email
Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
Programmer = someone who codes what they're told to code

Developer = someone who decides what they're going to code, then codes it
Designer
Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
http://www.ericsink.com/No_Programmers.html

You may not agree with it, but after four years it's become a commonly accepted way to define the terms 'programmer' and 'developer'.
PWills Send private email
Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
According to Sink "a 'programmer' is someone who does nothing but code new features and [if you're lucky] fix bugs".

I think the quoted article is largely self serving.

I don't know a single programmer who sit in total isolation and only "code new features."

Any contemporary programmer worth his salt would at the very least in some way or form be involved in the spec writing phase, if for no other reason than to get an idea of what's expected by the product being built.
HS Send private email
Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
I prefer CIO.

Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
"So should they be called wood developers?  They do more than nailing 2x4s together.  No, they are carpenters."

You are wrong!  That specialization is known as "cabinetmaking.”

Additionally, the term "programmer" is also used in the broadcasting industry; hence, it is an ambiguous term.
Old Timer
Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
> If you write code for a living, what word do you use
> to describe what you do (regardless of your actual
> title)?

An endangered species.
Waiting to be Outsourced
Sunday, May 20, 2007
 
 
"An endangered species"

We should pass laws to protect endangered species.

Monday, May 21, 2007
 
 
"Software Engineer"

When I'm talking to a single woman, and she asks me what I do for a living....I simply tell her....."I make computers do things that you can't imagine..."

That's usually enticing enough to keep the conversation going....
¤Brice Richard¤ Send private email
Monday, May 21, 2007
 
 

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