Does anyone else feel bothered when people term us as coders instead of developers or programmers..?

Should i be concerned about what people think about my job ? Because i think ' a coder ' and ' a developer ' sound a lot different .

I have seen the overuse of the word coder recently in a series called 'Silicon Valley' and was intimidated by them.

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Between us here, the devs, the terms are not synonyms, but for the outside world they are. I agree with the coder <= programmer <= developer (comparator is for the knowledge and responsibilities, not quality), I'll not start discussion, here, again.

I wear different hats, depending on the knowledge the interlocutor has. I often address myself as:

  • I have an office job - very few ppl are here nowdays, that doesn't know what a computer is
  • I work on computers - for non-technical
  • I can make your startup a reality, from IT, networks, websites and marketing - for dreamers
  • I do websites - for non-technical ppl that knows about the internet
  • I am a programmer - for people that knows what an app/website is. Coder is not used in EU, at least not my Romania, but for their perspective are synonyms.
  • I am a developer - for technical people, that knows what a Tester, Designer, Manager does.
  • I am a full stack web developer with experience on mobile and desktop, cloud engineer and (soon to be, wishful thinking) technology architect - for really tech ppl

I personally feel that the difference between a coder and a software engineer is so significant that I wrote a whole article about it:

The term 'coder' does seem a bit reductive for the amount of concepts necessary to be a developer. It could also be accurate depending on the developer and the organizational expectations. The developer could be only interested in translating what they are told verbatim into machine code. The organization could also have a micro-managing culture which makes them see developers simply as verbatim code translators. This would also lead the developers working there to look at themselves the same way. As "coders". Seems like this would be the case in a show like Silicon Valley, although I haven't seen it. I did watch a little Halt and Catch Fire and there was a definite executive-enforced "coder" ethos there.

However, I have answered to a lot worse than "coder" before. And I probably wouldn't correct anyone (friends, co-workers in other departments) describing me that way. Without experience in a specific job (any job), humans automatically invent a simple mental model of what that job involves. Just enough to interact with someone in that role on a surface level. Think of your interactions with the accounting department. :)


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I suppose within the industry the semantics actually mean something. I prefer being called a Developer rather than coder, or programmer. Yet I know someone else that prefers being called a Programmer.

But from outside the industry people don't pick up on these nuances, and in the end we all write code; it's the one thing they understand.

So don't let it bother you, in the end it's a label we bestow on ourselves more than anything.

I'm not bothered by the terms themselves so much as the attitude/tone/context they're used with. I've been programming since the mid-90s, and prefer simply "developer" if someone's asking. "Coder" sounds a little naive.

I would be concerned if someone I worked with or for had no respect for software craft or process, and thought of writing software as a low-skill thing. But I don't get hung up on the terminology necessarily.

I personally would not let it bother you. To me they pretty much all mean the same concept. I would also say if you like your job who cares what others think of a title. I also would not be bothered by a tv show.

If I had to choose, I'd prefer to be called a developer rather than a coder or programmer. But I usually remember that most (non-developer) people I know don't understand what I do anyway, so I can't blame them.

I think in a way we've done ourselves in as an industry by not really standardizing ourselves. It's hard to fault outsiders for calling us anything in the world.

I'm not hung up on job titles that much as long as the pay is what I want.

Me personally? I don't really care :)

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