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Are You An Engineer or A Dreamer?

I almost called this article – The Anti Engineer – but I don’t want to piss off those who consider themselves software engineers.

That’s not to say that programmers can’t be software engineers, but I think engineering misses the point. We strive to make things that please people. We don’t set out to control ourselves and deliver perfection.

I have regular twitter interactions with software engineering consultants and experts and feel they’re pushing a method the whole the time. I’m not big on process. I’m not big on creating or following a pattern. Consequently the code I write isn’t the cleanest, but I leave comments. Is that a crime?

I like to get ideas down quickly but leave a lean core while I work. I will refactor regularly if I can’t get to express myself the way I want to.

I think once I was called an ‘instinctive programmer’ and I think that’s probably right. Some get to follow patterns. I see patterns and apply them but then get distracted. Apt to be messy, not to everyone’s taste. Able to come up with truly elegant solutions to problems occasionally.

So how would you define yourself as a programmer? Are you even one? Does that matter?

If you can describe a problem well, want to see it solved and can spend some time with someone who can translate it into code, then you add value to a software product.

You do not have to be a coder, a programmer, an engineer, or anything to provide service to another through the form of a software product.

So many people dabble in coding and then leave it. So many ex-engineers think that they are beyond doing it anymore. So many true programmers cannot see the path to creating perfection in the eyes of their users.

None of us apart have the solution. Only through combining our perspectives can we truly create what a customer wants.