Identity Crisis

July 12, 2011


There’s an identity crisis among people who create software. We call ourselves “programmers”, “software developers”, “software engineers”, “software architects”, “hackers”, “coders”, and “computer scientists”. On the semi-derogatory side is “code monkeys”, “nerds”, “geeks”, and “grunts”. And embarrassingly, we’ve even coined the phrases “code ninjas”, “code rockstars”, and “technopreneurs”.

What the hell? A doctor is a doctor. A lawyer is a lawyer. Why do we invent these new terms?

Perhaps it’s because the respect associated with these labels depreciates over time. It takes at least 8 years of school before you can call yourself a doctor, but you can buy books to learn programming in 21 days. As more people with questionable skill refer to themselves using the latest buzzword to describe programmers, those with more skill try to find a new label to differentiate.

Or maybe it’s an attempt to capture our own personal growth. I’ve been writing computer code since 4th grade… so about 21 years. What I’m doing now is drastically different than what I was doing back then. Shouldn’t the label evolve?

Anyway, starting now, I’m calling myself a “code shaman”.

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