Sunday, October 23, 2016

You are all programmers. Yes, you are !

Programming is a skill that most of the tech guys learned in school or some type of formal education. With a lot of material online these days, you can learn programming without going through formal courses; you just need a bit of guidance from somebody in the industry, willingness to grind through it and you are set.
So we have programmers in all the categories I mentioned above. What about the rest of people in the professional world? I am talking about your coworkers who are not qualified software developers; I am talking about your coworkers that say “I am not a techie and I don’t understand your tech magic”. I am talking about product managers from non-technical background, non-technical managers, project managers, business analysts, directors, VPs, and so on.
This group of people does not give themselves enough credit when it comes to “programming” style of thinking.
Let’s go back to the definition of programming. Here is my definition without using Wikipedia or Google as I am on a plane without WiFi connection. Programming is an act of giving a computer/someone a list of instructions that should result in something meaningful.
With that in mind, do you see how I threw in there the word “someone” and did not just use the word “computer”.
So what does this really mean?
It means that a business requirement document (written by a product manager) is a list of instructions; it is a form a program. This document would contain simple instructions but in most situations it contains flows, IF/ELSE conditions embedded in paragraphs in the form your speaking language.
Your manager/director/VP telling you (a junior developer) what they want to achieve has direct IF/ELSE conditions, but if you are a more senior employee, the instructions from your manager become more indirect which is really a form of light coaching.
So they are all programmers. They all go through a thought process that is similar to the thought process that typical programmers would go through.
I am a programmer / software engineer / software developer; however you want to call me. One thing that my teammates have heard me say is that most problems are solvable at the high-level, but even at that high-level problem solving category, you need to have that programmer’s thought process.
How many times have we all been in meetings with for example VPs (non-tech background) and they question your application/software before it is launched to production and they think of things that many developers would not think of. That’s why I say that these VPs also deserve to be part of the programmer’s club.
You are all programmers! Yes, you are, and welcome to the club :)
Almir Mustafic
Solutions Architect / Leader in Software Engineering field

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