Programmer and Software Engineer, WAS: Contracting work, does anyone pay?

Sterling Jacobson sterling at ilc-it.net
Mon Apr 23 06:53:19 MDT 2007


I think this is what separates a "coder" and a "software engineer".

The typical coder without formal engineering training has learned the syntax of a particular language or similar language.

It's all about the syntax for these guys. If they can't find a similar syntax then they can't function well.

For the trained engineer it's all bits anyway. So I've seen good engineers learn the syntax in a few days and maybe have a reference manual handy. Then they switch languages like they switch clothes.

On the other hand I've seen programmers (often new "contractors") fail big time because they can't break away from the syntax they've learned. Maybe they picked up programming on the side somewhere and have a skill set. But they can't think on a lower level yet and don't recognize or have the ability to morph the syntax from one language to another.

-----Original Message-----
From: plug-bounces at plug.org [mailto:plug-bounces at plug.org] On Behalf Of Roberto Mello
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 12:42 AM
To: Provo Linux Users Group Mailing List
Subject: Re: Contracting work, does anyone pay?

It's a very convenient analogy, but IMNSHO, one that falls short in the
case of programming. It's too simplistic.

If programming languages were easily interchangeable and equivalent (like
carpenter tools), we would all still be happily using Cobol or Fortran or 
PL/I.

-Roberto

On Mon, Apr 23, 2007 at 12:30:53AM -0600, Steve wrote:
> Hmm I never considered it that way, I've always looked at it as a way
> of saying you never stop learning (tools in good working order, to me
> means your mind and your skillset), and if you need C use C, need Perl
> use Perl etc.
> 
> On 4/23/07, Roberto Mello <rmello at fslc.usu.edu> wrote:
> >On Sun, Apr 22, 2007 at 11:48:04PM -0600, Steve wrote:
> >>
> >> My philosophy has always been that programming is like carpentry,
> >> languages and frameworks are tools, a good carpenter always keeps his
> >> tools in good working order, and chooses the right tools for the right
> >> job.
> >
> >That analogy has been used ad nauseum. The analogy would be accurate if
> >the tools the carpenter used defined to a large degree how the carpenter
> >thinks.
> >
> >-Roberto
> >
> >--
> >BREAKFAST Halted...Cereal Port Not Responding.
> >
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