Coder, programmer or developer

Scratch headCoder, programmer or developer

Today I had a conversation with my Wife about the stuff I do at work. I was trying to explain what is my role. After few minutes I got into a pickle. Am I a coder, programmer, developer. Does all those terms mean different things or they all the same?

Taking a step back in my life I tried to analyze all those words according to what I was doing.

Coder

When I left university I was full of theory. Empty words and concepts that I never tried in life. I knew few programming languages and some technics. I had no experience how to deal with people though. Whenever I was in a conversation about next project, feature I was thinking only in technical terms. When I found something impossible to do (as I just never done it before), I said that it is impossible to do. These were old days, and I think I was a coder at that point in my life.

Programmer

When I started my first job, every simple task was a problem. I was asking a million questions all guys that were working there for long time. Needed guidance on everything. After a while I was capable to make some simple technical decisions and not ask anybody. This is when I still was in my little world of code and I didn’t care about reasons behind it.

Developer

This is few years after university. This is the moment when I stopped thinking about programming languages (they are just another tool) and focused on software as a whole. A big role in this was played by people from the company I work for at the moment (ThoughtWorks). As a developer I need to know what is the driver behind the need for feature/software. Why? I need to understand system as a whole, to make proper decisions. It is also possible that the feature or functionality is not really needed or hard (impossible) to implement.

So, coder, programmer, developer. This is how I believe I evolved through my technical life. The labels are still a labels but I find them very useful explaining or just understanding what I was doing.

I believe it is natural for next question to appear, what’s next?

We’ll see 😉

Greg

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