The infinite arrogance of software developers
Yeah, sorry for the bold title, but sometimes I get tired of software developers expecting they figure out the secrets of the universe. And let’s be honest: at some time in my career, I was one of them. Sometimes by accident, sometimes… not. Anyway.
First, a little disclaimer: this post is not targeted at anyone in special, and I’ll not mention anyone here – just quotes, slightly modified. Anyway, although I love my profession, sometimes it feels like we’re this programmer guy from XKCD:
There are LOTS of things that bother me at this programmer mentality, so I’ll separate this post into multiple sections. If you’re reading this and feels like it’s a personal attack against you, please don’t – I’m not really attacking anyone, just trying to change a toxic mentality that poisons our abilities to be better professionals, people, and human beings.
“Not a real programmer”
The first one is classic: people define what a “programmer” is, based on their own experiences and expertise, and dismiss people that don’t fall into their categories. Wikipedia, for example, defines Computer Programming as:
Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task
As for the “Computer program part”, Wikipedia defines as:
In imperative programming, a computer program is a sequence of instructions in a programming language that a computer can execute or interpret. In declarative programming, a computer program is a set of instructions.
So it’s hard to find a good definition on what programming is, but if we try to merge the two explanations from Wikipedia, we get that, to program a computer, you have to design an executable “sequence of instructions” or “a set of instructions” so that you can accomplish a specific result or perform a particular task.