The official form said “occupation” and I filled in, without thinking - “Developer”.
I recoiled as if 1000 volts had just been applied to some soft tissue. When did I stop filling such forms in with the simple and bold declaration “Programmer”?
Many years ago I might have been seduced by the label “Systems Analyst” - I’ve never been sure if that was a plural or a possessive, but I’m dyslexic and have more important problems to think about.
I suppose today I’d consider the appellation of “Software Architect” as my goal. I've always liked the song "so long Frank Lloyd Wright" and Le Corbusier is good.
However the truth of the matter is that I’ve always preferred “Programmer”.
No, it doesn’t suggest, to me at least, someone with knuckles dragging on the ground and a thickened forehead. A grunt programmer is a marvellous thing – something like Rambo on steroids.
I’m not at all sure that the effete “software developer” quite captures the struggle and the triumph of our particular endeavour. But it does at least make a distinction that rules out "hardware developer" or even a "1 hour photo developer",
Nor do I want to be a Computer Scientist – this sounds sterile by comparison with the craft that I would like to master. Is computing a science? Probably, but only if mathematics and logic are sciences too.
Software engineer sounds like a contradiction in terms and engineering is so --- well, messy. Do I really want to associate my art with grubby engineering? No, I do not. It may be true that bridges stand up when software mostly falls (over that is) but engineering is what you do with steel.
I think I reject all of the other possible, and mostly recent, descriptions of the hierarchies, mostly imagined, in our profession.
I quickly scratched out the dreaded word “Developer” with its overtones of prepubescent hopefulness and instead wrote in big childish capital letters: