Professional Programmer Notes

or just call this my soapbox

Developer vs. Coder

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Are you a developer or a coder?  Before you answer that question, I urge you to consider several characteristics about yourself that you may be taking for granted.

First, let me start by saying this:  If you do not write code of any sort, then you are neither developer or coder.  But, you’re still invited to read the rest of my rant and share your $.02 via comments.

Why do you do it?  Why do you write code?  Is it a lucrative career choice you made based on the short-term earning potential?  Or, do you simply like building things because it’s neat?  A developer leans more toward the money.   The diplomat in me wants to point out that developers may also feel rewarded by just building things.  But, the distinction I want to make is that developers give the financial reward priority over the alternative.  On the other hand, a coder does it for the “love of the game” and not JUST for the money.

When do you think about your code the most?  Writing code can be a very stressful job.  Many people that do it pride themselves on being able to leave work (and the subsequent stress) at the office and focus purely on their personal lives.  Those people are developers.  Developers work from eight to five, nine to six, or whatever time they are paid to work.  Alternatively, coders may be in the office for eight to nine hours, but they are very likely to come up with the next killer app while doing something recreational like sleeping or gaming.  Coders may change environments, but they never stop working.  They write code for fun.

How did you write your last great project?  Did you use Google to overcome your programming challenges?  Did you copy code from some coder’s blog, or from an open source project without FULLY understanding what it does and why it does it that way?  Or, did you reach out to friends that write code; or better yet, did you figure it out for yourself?  If you reached out to friends or figured it out for yourself (even if Google pointed you in the right direction), you are a coder.

It is important to distinguish yourself between developers and coders.  As coders continue churning out great tools that are intuitive and fun to use, and our general population continue to become more computer savvy, the number of developers will grow much faster than the number of coders.  Developers will be the commodity while the value of coders make a sharp upwards turn.

In fact, what I am describing is already the reality.  Developers are happy to collect seemingly generous salaries and contract rates that allow them to sustain the status quo.  Meanwhile, coders have automated the collection, sorting, distribution, and storage of their funds in the interest of minimizing distractions while they innovate (for fun).


Written by curtismitchell

October 11, 2007 at 8:57 pm

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