[SIGCIS-Members] Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware developer vs. software, engineer

D. Schmudde d at schmud.de
Thu May 7 13:56:53 PDT 2020


Hello all - I've enjoyed the discussion. I offer a further note on the 
changing foundations of computing and its potential impact on the title 
of "programmer," etc...

MIT significantly shifted their approach to educating incoming students 
around the turn of the century. At that time, Professor Gerald Sussman 
considered his own classic text, "Structures and Interpretation of 
Computer Programs" (1985 (1st ed)), no longer appropriate for MIT 
freshmen. From his remarks at the NYC Lisp meetup [i]:

 > The Structures and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP) 
curriculum no longer prepared engineers for what engineering is like 
today. Sussman said that in the 80s and 90s, engineers built complex 
systems by combining simple and well-understood parts.

 > Today, this is no longer the case. Sussman pointed out that engineers 
now routinely write code for complicated hardware that they don’t fully 
understand (and often can’t understand because of trade secrecy.) The 
same is true at the software level, since programming environments 
consist of gigantic libraries with enormous functionality. According to 
Sussman, his students spend most of their time reading manuals for these 
libraries to figure out how to stitch them together to get a job done. 
He said that programming today is “More like science. You grab this 
piece of library and you poke at it. You write programs that poke it and 
see what it does. And you say, ‘Can I tweak it to do the thing I 
want?'”. The “analysis-by-synthesis” view of SICP — where you build a 
larger system out of smaller, simple parts — became irrelevant. 
Nowadays, we do programming by poking.

Many people who write instructions for computers today "develop" an idea 
through experimentation - simply a better way of saying "programming by 
poking." They do not "engineer" a solution. Often the instructions are 
"encoded" to simply fit a platform or library's API. The APIs may be 
Twitter and Facebook, Windows and OS X, or a Python library running in a 
Java Virtual machine in Clojure. In each of these cases the software is 
essentially the same from a behavioral perspective, but encoded slightly 
differently depending on the platform.

So these titles may have distinct meaning, rather than just reflect some 
arbitrary fashion.

I would also argue that an uncertified Google engineer knows as much 
about the underlying mechanics of their system as the Missouri-certified 
civil engineer that builds your bridge. In both cases, the underlying 
mechanics are so abstracted by the software that the individual probably 
cannot tell you what's actually happening in detail. At least this is 
what I understand from talking to older civil engineers about what 
engineering is like today. In other words, "engineering" of all stripes 
has changed as quickly as computing itself.

/David

[i] Lisp NYC Meetup (2016): https://vimeo.com/151465912, ~59:35

On 5/7/20 22:37, members-request at lists.sigcis.org wrote:
> Send Members mailing list submissions to
> 	members at lists.sigcis.org
>
> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
> 	http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
> 	members-request at lists.sigcis.org
>
> You can reach the person managing the list at
> 	members-owner at lists.sigcis.org
>
> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of Members digest..."
>
>
> Today's Topics:
>
>     1. Re:  Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware developer vs. software
>        engineer (Deborah Douglas)
>     2. Re:  Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware developer vs. software
>        engineer (Erik Rau)
>     3.  [updated cfp] Histories of Computing in Asia workshop
>        (Christopher Leslie)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 6 May 2020 21:11:36 +0000
> From: Deborah Douglas <ddouglas at mit.edu>
> To: Marc Weber <marc at webhistory.org>
> Cc: Janet Abbate <abbate at vt.edu>, "treese at acm.org" <treese at acm.org>,
> 	"members at sigcis.org" <members at sigcis.org>
> Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware
> 	developer vs. software engineer
> Message-ID: <6C046E68-A0E6-4D20-87D4-1A9FF04AD5A5 at mit.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> And anyone can call themselves a historian!  (-:
>
> Debbie Douglas
>
>
>
> On May 6, 2020, at 2:55 PM, Marc Weber <marc at webhistory.org<mailto:marc at webhistory.org>> wrote:
>
> Speaking of title creep, at the Computer History Museum we?ve found it amusing to see how the uses of ?curator? and ?to curate? have expanded in the last few years. For instance, "How to Upgrade Your Social Media Marketing Strategy as a Social Curator<https://quuu.co/blog/social-curator/>," or  ?How to curate your personal style through Instagram<https://beingboss.club/articles/curate-personal-style-instagram>.?
>
>   ?Electrician? is an old example of title creep. In the late 19th century as the first power grids were being built it was roughly equivalent to ?Electrical Engineer? today, and apparently felt as mysterious and futuristic as ?AI Curator<https://www.gallereo.com/blog-the-ai-curator-post-2109-55.html>? might now. W. Bernard Carlson?s biography of Tesla gives a number of contemporary examples of usage.
>
> Best, Marc
>
> Marc Weber<http://www.computerhistory.org/staff/Marc,Weber/>  |   marc at webhistory.org<mailto:marc at webhistory.org>  |   +1 415 282 6868
> Curatorial Director, Internet History Program
> Computer History Museum, 1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View CA 94043
> computerhistory.org/nethistory<http://computerhistory.org/nethistory>  |  Co-founder, Web History Center and Project
>
>
> On May 6, 2020, at 10:21, Janet Abbate <abbate at vt.edu<mailto:abbate at vt.edu>> wrote:
>
> Hi Win,
>
> Your mention of the ?Learn to code? movement brings to mind the 2013 video by Code.org<http://code.org/> (link below), which ushered in a lot of that coding discourse. They imply that superstars like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg identify as ?coders.? Maybe that helped raise the status of the term.
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc
>
> best,
> Janet
>
> Dr. Janet Abbate
> Professor, Science, Technology and Society
> Virginia Tech
> Co-director, VT National Capital Region STS program
> liberalarts.vt.edu/sts<http://liberalarts.vt.edu/sts>
> www.facebook.com/VirginiaTechSTS<http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaTechSTS>
> https://sites.google.com/vt.edu/stsconnect/
>
> On May 5, 2020, at 10:20 PM, Win Treese <treese at acm.org> wrote:
>
> Hi, all. I?ve been enjoying the discussion so far.
>
> I'm not a historian, but I've worked in the software world since the mid-1980s. This is personal recollection and thoughts from that experience; perhaps it is helpful.
>
>  From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, pretty much the only job title for people developing software that I encountered was "software engineer" in various forms. The term "developer", near as I can recall, would typically be used in the context of specific kinds of software: "Windows developer", "application developer", "UNIX developer", etc. In other words, "developer" wasn't a job title, but was just a way of categorizing by the kind of software you worked on. I was in the UNIX/workstation/systems/research parts of the world, and areas like mainframes, business applications, and PC/Windows may have had different terminology.
>
> What changed things was the web, in the late 90s. The changes came in a couple of ways. First, creating web applications meant a lot of work in HTML, which doesn't seem much like writing program in C, C++, or Java. Even the server code at the time was written in "scripting languages", most commonly Perl and PHP at that time. Second, the demand for people to write those applications exploded, and it brought a lot of people into the work who didn't have a computer science background.
>
> In the job market, this was kind of complicated. There was a time when someone who could work with Perl and HTML wasn't really considered to be a "software engineer". Indeed, the work practices usually didn't resemble what we normally think of as software engineering. So terms like "application developer" and "web developer" came to be used even as job titles. To some extent it was status, yet it was also trying to draw a distinction in the level of training and professional methods that different kinds of people "writing code" would use. (This was also the day of the "code monkey", doing the web work, although that has fortunately faded.)
>
> This gets us into the early 2000s. Large numbers of people are now "developers" of various kinds. It's the hot area, so the terms are more in the public media, and it's a lot easier to say than "software engineer". So the term largely takes over. This accelerates as smart phones appear, and Steve Jobs gives us the term "app", which, of course, requires "app developers". Again, it's the hot thing.
>
> I think this is also the time that gave us new meanings for "coding" and "coders". Writing HTML clearly wasn't "programming" in a traditional sense. But it was also important work to be done, and working with HTML is a kind of coding activity if you are willing to loosen your notion of what its. But it's also not "HTML programming". Beyond that, I suspect that for many people at the time, "programming" had negative connotations: it was hard, the people (by far mostly male, at that point) who did it were serious nerds, and so on. "Coding" was more approachable. "Coding a web application" seemed like something many people could do; "programming in C" sounded hard and mysterious.
>
> As with "developer", "coding" starts to dominate. It's also easier to say than "programming" or "developing software". "Learn to code" spreads, first as a way to retrain to get a job, then as an activity for everyone. It's short and sweet, and seems like it might be accessible.
>
> All of this is muddled up with status, salaries, job classification and tracks within companies, and the continued battles over which kinds of people who write software are better than others.
>
> Of course, "software engineer" struggles in terms of methodology and principles when lined up against older engineering disciplines, both in terms of professional definition and the rigor of practice, but that's another story.
>
> I'm sure that investigating this further would turn up a lot that I have no idea about.
>
> If this is out of line/out of scope for the list, I apologize.
>
> Best,
> Win
>
> Win Treese
> treese at acm.org
>
>
>
> On May 5, 2020, at 3:50 PM, McMillan, William W <william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu> wrote:
>
> Thanks to those who sent suggestions for background info on this topic!
>
> My own interest in the history of computing is really more about understanding the present, and my concern about the use and misuse of professional titles, though informed by history, leads to questions such as:
>
> - Why do we call programmers and software developers coders nowadays, when that term has long been used to label those with quite limited intellectual involvement in software development, and even considered to be carrying out a clerical task (as explained well in Nathan's book)?
>
> - Why do we apply the term software engineer to those who can program, but who really know very little about software engineering in the broader sense?
>
> To me this suggests that our society, and the enterprises that create the software we use, have extremely limited understanding of software development and what it entails. This is a failure of those of us who teach computing and software engineering and maybe of professional societies.
>
> The risks to society are immense. Imagine if a machinist or even a self-taught tinkerer could adopt the title mechanical engineer at will and be tasked with designing the critical devices of our civilization. Or if anyone with some knowledge of biochemistry could serve as a pharmacist?
>
> Maybe SIGCIS members don't believe that this topic belongs on this list, but I feel that historians might be better positioned to address it than many in the technical and commercial communities who are consumed by immediate demands, and who have very limited understanding of their profession's past.
>
> OK, end of rant!
>
> Thanks,
> Bill
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] on behalf of McMillan, William W [william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu]
> Sent: Monday, May 04, 2020 11:28 AM
> To: members at sigcis.org
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware developer vs. software engineer
>
> Hello, SIGCIS folks.
>
> The ruminations below might have little scholarly importance, but I think the subject is interesting at least in regard to the culture of computing.
>
> What do we call people who design and implement computer programs?
>
> Nowadays, the term coder is used, maybe most often. My understanding is that this used to refer to the job of translating a detailed flow chart, which was created by a programmer, into an implementation language. I.e., the coder was sort of like a human compiler who translated a detailed algorithm into a computer language like Fortran, Cobol, or assembly language. The coder didn't design algorithms.
>
> Later, the coder dropped out of the loop and a programmer implemented algorithms directly in a computer language (possibly after creating a flow chart or pseudo-code).
>
> The term software developer has been used, possibly implying that the job is broader than just programming, including gathering requirements, testing, and integration with existing systems.
>
> Starting in the late 1960s, the title software engineer became common. At least initially, this implied a very broad scope, as well as specialized training in requirements analysis, system design, programming style, verification and validation, risk assessment, maintenance techniques, UI design, and other aspects of software development. I believe that Texas even licenses professional engineers in software engineering, and a detailed curriculum has been defined:
> https://www.acm.org/binaries/content/assets/education/se2014.pdf
>
> The title software engineer implied that the person at least had a solid university course specifically in software engineering, as well as a good foundation in computer science or information systems.
>
> The term systems analyst sometimes implies a similar role, though it might mean something more akin to requirements analysis.
>
> Currently, anyone who writes computer programs might identify as a software engineer, even if he or she has no background beyond computer programming. Companies use the title willy-nilly. This inflates the prestige of the job, I suppose.
>
> At the same time, we call developers coders, which to me sounds like it deflates prestige.
>
> What professionals call themselves does matter. If a medical assistant calls himself a physician, the risks are obvious. If a physician (true software engineer) calls herself a technician (coder), then at least confusion results. Of course governments regulate the use of job titles in medical professions, while software development as it exists today is very libertarian.
>
> Has there been much consideration of the common use of job titles in the history of computing? Certainly there's been a lot of work in the history of software engineering, programming, systems analysis, etc., but I'm asking about the use and misuse of job titles by individuals and organizations.
>
> Thanks.
> Bill
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
>
>
> Marc Weber<http://www.computerhistory.org/staff/Marc,Weber/>  |   marc at webhistory.org<mailto:marc at webhistory.org>  |   +1 415 282 6868
> Internet History Program Curatorial Director, Computer History Museum
> 1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View CA 94043 computerhistory.org/nethistory<http://computerhistory.org/nethistory>
> Co-founder, Web History Center and Project, webhistory.org<http://webhistory.org/>
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> Deborah G. Douglas, PhD ? Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum; Research Associate, Program in Science, Technology, and Society ? Room N51-209 ? 265 Massachusetts Avenue ? Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 ? ddouglas at mit.edu<mailto:ddouglas at mit.edu> ? 617-253-1766 telephone ? 617-253-8994 facsimile ? http://mitmuseum.mit.edu ? she/her/hers
>
>
>
>
>
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20200506/76e0d194/attachment-0001.html>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 7 May 2020 11:48:19 +0000
> From: Erik Rau <erau at Hagley.org>
> To: SHOT History of SHOT History of Computing List
> 	<members at sigcis.org>
> Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware
> 	developer vs. software engineer
> Message-ID: <90616544-4E87-4F0B-8E3B-31F9C15422C0 at hagley.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> ?not to mention, ?businessman."
>
> --
>
> Erik P. Rau, PhD
> Director, Library Services
> Hagley Museum & Library
> P.O. Box 3630, 298 Buck Road
> Wilmington, DE 19807
> 302.658.2400, ext. 344
> erau at hagley.org<mailto:erau at hagley.org>
> www.hagley.org
> www.hagleyheritage.com<http://www.hagleyheritage.com>
>
> Sign up for Hagley Library?s monthly newsletter<https://www.hagley.org/research/news/subscribe> to receive the latest research news, collection updates, upcoming events, and more.
>
> You can unsubscribe at any time.
>
> On 6 May 2020, at 17:11, Deborah Douglas <ddouglas at MIT.EDU<mailto:ddouglas at MIT.EDU>> wrote:
>
> And anyone can call themselves a historian!  (-:
>
> Debbie Douglas
>
>
>
> On May 6, 2020, at 2:55 PM, Marc Weber <marc at webhistory.org<mailto:marc at webhistory.org>> wrote:
>
> Speaking of title creep, at the Computer History Museum we?ve found it amusing to see how the uses of ?curator? and ?to curate? have expanded in the last few years. For instance, "How to Upgrade Your Social Media Marketing Strategy as a Social Curator<https://quuu.co/blog/social-curator/>," or  ?How to curate your personal style through Instagram<https://beingboss.club/articles/curate-personal-style-instagram>.?
>
>   ?Electrician? is an old example of title creep. In the late 19th century as the first power grids were being built it was roughly equivalent to ?Electrical Engineer? today, and apparently felt as mysterious and futuristic as ?AI Curator<https://www.gallereo.com/blog-the-ai-curator-post-2109-55.html>? might now. W. Bernard Carlson?s biography of Tesla gives a number of contemporary examples of usage.
>
> Best, Marc
>
> Marc Weber<http://www.computerhistory.org/staff/Marc,Weber/>  |   marc at webhistory.org<mailto:marc at webhistory.org>  |   +1 415 282 6868
> Curatorial Director, Internet History Program
> Computer History Museum, 1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View CA 94043
> computerhistory.org/nethistory<http://computerhistory.org/nethistory>  |  Co-founder, Web History Center and Project
>
>
> On May 6, 2020, at 10:21, Janet Abbate <abbate at vt.edu<mailto:abbate at vt.edu>> wrote:
>
> Hi Win,
>
> Your mention of the ?Learn to code? movement brings to mind the 2013 video by Code.org<http://code.org/> (link below), which ushered in a lot of that coding discourse. They imply that superstars like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg identify as ?coders.? Maybe that helped raise the status of the term.
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc
>
> best,
> Janet
>
> Dr. Janet Abbate
> Professor, Science, Technology and Society
> Virginia Tech
> Co-director, VT National Capital Region STS program
> liberalarts.vt.edu/sts<http://liberalarts.vt.edu/sts>
> www.facebook.com/VirginiaTechSTS<http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaTechSTS>
> https://sites.google.com/vt.edu/stsconnect/
>
> On May 5, 2020, at 10:20 PM, Win Treese <treese at acm.org<mailto:treese at acm.org>> wrote:
>
> Hi, all. I?ve been enjoying the discussion so far.
>
> I'm not a historian, but I've worked in the software world since the mid-1980s. This is personal recollection and thoughts from that experience; perhaps it is helpful.
>
>  From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, pretty much the only job title for people developing software that I encountered was "software engineer" in various forms. The term "developer", near as I can recall, would typically be used in the context of specific kinds of software: "Windows developer", "application developer", "UNIX developer", etc. In other words, "developer" wasn't a job title, but was just a way of categorizing by the kind of software you worked on. I was in the UNIX/workstation/systems/research parts of the world, and areas like mainframes, business applications, and PC/Windows may have had different terminology.
>
> What changed things was the web, in the late 90s. The changes came in a couple of ways. First, creating web applications meant a lot of work in HTML, which doesn't seem much like writing program in C, C++, or Java. Even the server code at the time was written in "scripting languages", most commonly Perl and PHP at that time. Second, the demand for people to write those applications exploded, and it brought a lot of people into the work who didn't have a computer science background.
>
> In the job market, this was kind of complicated. There was a time when someone who could work with Perl and HTML wasn't really considered to be a "software engineer". Indeed, the work practices usually didn't resemble what we normally think of as software engineering. So terms like "application developer" and "web developer" came to be used even as job titles. To some extent it was status, yet it was also trying to draw a distinction in the level of training and professional methods that different kinds of people "writing code" would use. (This was also the day of the "code monkey", doing the web work, although that has fortunately faded.)
>
> This gets us into the early 2000s. Large numbers of people are now "developers" of various kinds. It's the hot area, so the terms are more in the public media, and it's a lot easier to say than "software engineer". So the term largely takes over. This accelerates as smart phones appear, and Steve Jobs gives us the term "app", which, of course, requires "app developers". Again, it's the hot thing.
>
> I think this is also the time that gave us new meanings for "coding" and "coders". Writing HTML clearly wasn't "programming" in a traditional sense. But it was also important work to be done, and working with HTML is a kind of coding activity if you are willing to loosen your notion of what its. But it's also not "HTML programming". Beyond that, I suspect that for many people at the time, "programming" had negative connotations: it was hard, the people (by far mostly male, at that point) who did it were serious nerds, and so on. "Coding" was more approachable. "Coding a web application" seemed like something many people could do; "programming in C" sounded hard and mysterious.
>
> As with "developer", "coding" starts to dominate. It's also easier to say than "programming" or "developing software". "Learn to code" spreads, first as a way to retrain to get a job, then as an activity for everyone. It's short and sweet, and seems like it might be accessible.
>
> All of this is muddled up with status, salaries, job classification and tracks within companies, and the continued battles over which kinds of people who write software are better than others.
>
> Of course, "software engineer" struggles in terms of methodology and principles when lined up against older engineering disciplines, both in terms of professional definition and the rigor of practice, but that's another story.
>
> I'm sure that investigating this further would turn up a lot that I have no idea about.
>
> If this is out of line/out of scope for the list, I apologize.
>
> Best,
> Win
>
> Win Treese
> treese at acm.org<mailto:treese at acm.org>
>
>
>
> On May 5, 2020, at 3:50 PM, McMillan, William W <william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu<mailto:william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu>> wrote:
>
> Thanks to those who sent suggestions for background info on this topic!
>
> My own interest in the history of computing is really more about understanding the present, and my concern about the use and misuse of professional titles, though informed by history, leads to questions such as:
>
> - Why do we call programmers and software developers coders nowadays, when that term has long been used to label those with quite limited intellectual involvement in software development, and even considered to be carrying out a clerical task (as explained well in Nathan's book)?
>
> - Why do we apply the term software engineer to those who can program, but who really know very little about software engineering in the broader sense?
>
> To me this suggests that our society, and the enterprises that create the software we use, have extremely limited understanding of software development and what it entails. This is a failure of those of us who teach computing and software engineering and maybe of professional societies.
>
> The risks to society are immense. Imagine if a machinist or even a self-taught tinkerer could adopt the title mechanical engineer at will and be tasked with designing the critical devices of our civilization. Or if anyone with some knowledge of biochemistry could serve as a pharmacist?
>
> Maybe SIGCIS members don't believe that this topic belongs on this list, but I feel that historians might be better positioned to address it than many in the technical and commercial communities who are consumed by immediate demands, and who have very limited understanding of their profession's past.
>
> OK, end of rant!
>
> Thanks,
> Bill
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org<mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org>] on behalf of McMillan, William W [william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu<mailto:william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu>]
> Sent: Monday, May 04, 2020 11:28 AM
> To: members at sigcis.org<mailto:members at sigcis.org>
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Programmer vs. coder vs. sofware developer vs. software engineer
>
> Hello, SIGCIS folks.
>
> The ruminations below might have little scholarly importance, but I think the subject is interesting at least in regard to the culture of computing.
>
> What do we call people who design and implement computer programs?
>
> Nowadays, the term coder is used, maybe most often. My understanding is that this used to refer to the job of translating a detailed flow chart, which was created by a programmer, into an implementation language. I.e., the coder was sort of like a human compiler who translated a detailed algorithm into a computer language like Fortran, Cobol, or assembly language. The coder didn't design algorithms.
>
> Later, the coder dropped out of the loop and a programmer implemented algorithms directly in a computer language (possibly after creating a flow chart or pseudo-code).
>
> The term software developer has been used, possibly implying that the job is broader than just programming, including gathering requirements, testing, and integration with existing systems.
>
> Starting in the late 1960s, the title software engineer became common. At least initially, this implied a very broad scope, as well as specialized training in requirements analysis, system design, programming style, verification and validation, risk assessment, maintenance techniques, UI design, and other aspects of software development. I believe that Texas even licenses professional engineers in software engineering, and a detailed curriculum has been defined:
> https://www.acm.org/binaries/content/assets/education/se2014.pdf
>
> The title software engineer implied that the person at least had a solid university course specifically in software engineering, as well as a good foundation in computer science or information systems.
>
> The term systems analyst sometimes implies a similar role, though it might mean something more akin to requirements analysis.
>
> Currently, anyone who writes computer programs might identify as a software engineer, even if he or she has no background beyond computer programming. Companies use the title willy-nilly. This inflates the prestige of the job, I suppose.
>
> At the same time, we call developers coders, which to me sounds like it deflates prestige.
>
> What professionals call themselves does matter. If a medical assistant calls himself a physician, the risks are obvious. If a physician (true software engineer) calls herself a technician (coder), then at least confusion results. Of course governments regulate the use of job titles in medical professions, while software development as it exists today is very libertarian.
>
> Has there been much consideration of the common use of job titles in the history of computing? Certainly there's been a lot of work in the history of software engineering, programming, systems analysis, etc., but I'm asking about the use and misuse of job titles by individuals and organizations.
>
> Thanks.
> Bill
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
>
>
> Marc Weber<http://www.computerhistory.org/staff/Marc,Weber/>  |   marc at webhistory.org<mailto:marc at webhistory.org>  |   +1 415 282 6868
> Internet History Program Curatorial Director, Computer History Museum
> 1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View CA 94043 computerhistory.org/nethistory<http://computerhistory.org/nethistory>
> Co-founder, Web History Center and Project, webhistory.org<http://webhistory.org/>
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org/>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> Deborah G. Douglas, PhD ? Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum; Research Associate, Program in Science, Technology, and Society ? Room N51-209 ? 265 Massachusetts Avenue ? Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 ? ddouglas at mit.edu<mailto:ddouglas at mit.edu> ? 617-253-1766 telephone ? 617-253-8994 facsimile ? http://mitmuseum.mit.edu<http://mitmuseum.mit.edu/> ? she/her/hers
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org<http://sigcis.org>, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20200507/6bf4ada0/attachment-0001.html>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 7 May 2020 22:01:05 +0800
> From: Christopher Leslie <chrisleslienyc at hotmail.com>
> To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org, Sigcis <members at sigcis.org>
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] [updated cfp] Histories of Computing in Asia
> 	workshop
> Message-ID:
> 	<DM6PR13MB3609A311CF012E572EAF251EC2A50 at DM6PR13MB3609.namprd13.prod.outlook.com>
> 	
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> Dear Colleagues,
>
> Even though the future is hard to predict, the consensus of IFIP Working Group 9.7 and the program committee is that we should go ahead with our December workshop. The initial interest in our workshop has been keen, and it seems that now more than ever we should maintain our commitment to international scholarship.
>
> Ultimately, I think the decision about the fate of the workshop should be made by the participants, based on the advice of our host. Thus, our program committee will start reviewing draft papers as we previously announced on June 1 and we will hope to have a roster of papers announced by September. At that time, we will confer with all parties involved to decide what is the best and safest way for everyone to proceed. It seems possible that some will be able to attend an in-person meeting, and other will prefer to make remote presentations. If in fact the group wishes to postpone the conference to 2021, we can consider that, too.
>
> If you would like to participate in the workshop, but you do not think you will be ready to submit your paper by June 1, please let me know. Additionally, if you have any concerns about the workshop in advance of submitting a draft paper, please reach out.
>
> These are trying times, and I appreciate everyone?s patience and support. With that lengthy preamble, I am pasting an abbreviated CFP below. More information, including a form to upload your draft paper, is available at http://ifipwg97.org/
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Chris Leslie
> Chair, IFIP Working Group 9.7: History of Computing
> Lecturer, South China University of Technology
>
>
> Final Call for Papers
>
> HISTORIES OF COMPUTING IN ASIA
>
> SOUTH CHINA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
> GUANGZHOU ? DECEMBER 2020
>
> Draft papers are now being accepted for the next meeting of IFIP?s Working Group 9.7, which we hope will be held from 4 to 8 December 2020. Hosted by the South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou, China, our proposed workshop will bring together international and Chinese academic researchers, public historians, and industry professionals who are interested in the history of computing.
>
> The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created many uncertainties. Because our workshop is not scheduled until the end of the year, we have decided to proceed with the review of papers as planned, and we will confer with the authors of accepted papers about their ability to travel in the fall. We hope it will be possible to hold the conference in person, but we recognize that for some participants, this may be impossible or uncomfortable. We will discuss alternative arrangements, such as allowing remote presentations or postponing the workshop, in September with the authors of the accepted papers.
>
>
> THEMES
>
> The theme of the workshop is histories of computing in Asia, with a particular emphasis on contextualizing China?s success in computing. The program committee will consider any paper in line with this theme, but we are particularly interested in topics such as:
> China, Asia, and Beyond. The rapid rise of Chinese computing
> Internationalism. Frameworks that foster multinational cooperation and innovation
> Science and Technology Studies. History and philosophy of technology, from east to west
> Pedagogy. Teaching the history of computing in or about Asia
> Public History and Imagination. Remembering and presenting histories of computing
> More details about the CFP, guidelines for papers, and a form to upload your draft paper for consideration is available at: http://ifipwg97.org/workshops/hca2020/ <http://ifipwg97.org/workshops/hca2020/>
>
>
> REVIEW PROCESS
>
> Academic and amateur historians, computing and informatics professionals, archivists, and museum curators are welcome to submit papers to be considered for this workshop. Following our typical practice, we will ask for full papers for anonymous peer review by a program committee. Accepted papers must be revised according to the comments of the peer reviewers. In order to provide for a lively discussion at the workshop, we will distribute draft papers to participants in advance.
>
> After the workshop, authors will have the chance to incorporate feedback from the audience before preparing their final versions. These will be considered for inclusion in the volume of edited, selected papers, which will be published by Springer-Nature in the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology series. The official language of the workshop and the printed proceedings is English.
>
>
> IMPORTANT DATES
> 1 May to 1 June 2020: Draft papers accepted for consideration by the Program Committee
> 1 September 2020: Comments from Program Committee, decisions, and invitations sent to authors
> 4 November 2020: Collection of papers, revised based on reviewer comments and using Springer template, for distribution to workshop participants
> 4 December 2020: Participants arrive in Guangzhou, China
> 13 January 2021: Revised papers due for consideration in proceedings volume, which will be published by Springer
> Enquires in advance of your submission may be addressed to the conference chair, Christopher Leslie, at <hca2020workshop at outlook.com <mailto:hca2020workshop at outlook.com>>.
>
>
>
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20200507/470f664a/attachment-0001.html>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Subject: Digest Footer
>
> _______________________________________________
> This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org
>
> ------------------------------
>
> End of Members Digest, Vol 63, Issue 6
> **************************************

-- 
w: http://schmud.de
e: d at schmud.de
t: @dschmudde



More information about the Members mailing list