In the past couple of days I’ve had discussions with coworkers that seem very similar but are from completely different points of views.
The first conversation was with I had was with a java developer. It was about how one became a good programmer. In the conversation they implied that anyone can be taught to program, but a being a good coder is an art form. There is usually more than one solution that can be implemented within the code, but it’s the good programmer that can find the elegant solution. In the course of the conversation they called all of the other skills more or less art forms.
Earlier today I had another conversation, this time with a manager at my office. This one was about their thoughts on how a designer, by nature, has an innate ability to design stuff and has that creative streak that can’t be accounted for. Conversely they think that a designer can be taught to code just as proficiently as a developer. It was just a matter of training.
I argued to the Manager that it was just their point of view that they thought that way. Each was essentially an art form that each was practicing. Not every designer is a Jeffery Zeldman, and not every programmer is Bjarne Stroustrup. There are programmers who are competent programmers, but they aren’t “good” programmers. And conversely there are competent designers, but they aren’t “good” designers. Each can functionally to the job at hand, but may not possess inspiration or eloquence to be a “good”.
I think that it’s quite telling that each drew essentially the same conclusion about their own area of expertise, but they differed on their view of other disciplines. What I’m wondering is, is it just a lack of respect for another discipline or just naivety of that discipline?