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#1 Pwn  Icon User is offline

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Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:59 AM

At what point can you consider yourself a professional programmer? After you've mastered all the books/topics you can find, after you're wrote X number of successful programs, after you've landed a job in the field, after someone/X number of people recognize you as one, after you stop caring about programming?

It doesn't seem like it would be a personal decision that you're a professional; it would almost certainly pertain to outside influences. Anybody can call themselves a professional, and I've known a few that did but couldn't even understand half the stuff I learned in school with an associates degree.

So, what would you say? When are you there, when do you make it? How do you know?

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#2 BigAnt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:03 AM

If you have to ask then you are not yet a professional.
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#3 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:09 AM

One of the more common definitions of professional is "engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood". By that token, anyone who is paid money to program could likely be considered a professional.

Others may feel that there is a certain level of accomplishment required before the term can b applied.

I considered myself a professional programmer the instant I began to do it as a profession to feed me and my family (although I did not have one at the time)- meaning when it became my full time job.

Moved to Corner Cubicle.
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#4 Pwn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:28 AM

View PostBigAnt, on 21 Dec, 2008 - 09:03 AM, said:

If you have to ask then you are not yet a professional.


If you have to be an ass, then neither are you.

I have no delusions about where I stand and I need no confirmations or clarifications from you about what I am. Your answer in no way answered my question; thanks for trying.

This post has been edited by Pwn: 21 December 2008 - 10:30 AM

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#5 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:29 AM

Plus its objective.
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#6 Pwn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:37 AM

View PostAmadeus, on 21 Dec, 2008 - 09:09 AM, said:

One of the more common definitions of professional is "engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood".


Ok, to be more clear on my meaning, I'm not meaning professional is the clinical sense of the word, but rather in the clerical sense. In other words, since you missed the meaning by my original post, instead of calling yourself professional because you have the job, as there are a lot of people who have the job that don't deserve it for no other reason than they are good bullshitters, how about the sense that you are professional because people like working with you, people don't mind seeing your code, you have enough sense to be able to look past the problems and get the job done. Professional in the connotation, not the denotation.

It's perfectly obvious that BigAnt is a professional in the clinical sense, but not the clerical sense.
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#7 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 11:18 AM

The unquoted content from my original posts notes that many people also feel there is a certain level of accomplishment or competency before the term professional may be applied. I then jts gave my own personal meaning of professional, and for me, it means that it is my profession.

I do consider that people who can't code for beans but get paid for it to be professionals...they are just shitty professionals. Unfortunate, but the world is full of them...the bloody software industry in particular.
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#8 Pwn  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 21 December 2008 - 11:38 AM

Thank you Amadeus, I did read all of your post. I only quoted the definition to make my meaning clear

This post has been edited by Pwn: 21 December 2008 - 11:44 AM

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#9 numerical_jerome  Icon User is offline

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Re: Progression

Posted 22 December 2008 - 12:42 AM

Quote

You can train a n00b, but you will only create a trained n00b.
-Teh Masterer


This is actually a tricky one to nail down.

Programming is somewhat different than other professional fields in that there is no state licensure required to practice (see law, medicine, veterinary medicine, accounting, finance, some engineering* and construction fields, et cetera), no exams required for entry (see the bar, medical boards, CPA, CIA, FE, PE, PS, Section 9, et cetera), and many of the more productive programmers did not complete (or even attend) university, removing the educational requisite.**

[disclaimer, every thing beyond this point is going to offed someone, enjoy]

Though some exams and certifications do exist in the programming world, these are generally offered by vendors, and though they might get your foot in the door at at a big software house, tend to have an extremely small area of application. Because of the very commercial nature of vendor certs, these tend to test less your ability to formulate algorithmic solutions than your ability to name every method included in a vendors language and framework. As such they are more or less useless (buy a good reference, it costs less and lasts longer).

Case in point

So far as professional programmer goes, I think knowledge of any language (or group of languages) is a terrible criteria. More illustrative would be the opposite approach of flexibility, how well the programmer can determine and then formulate an algorithmic solution, and use prior paradigm knowledge to cast this solution into actual code.

More succinctly, if the programmer has enough paradigm knowledge that they can pick up the general outline of a language or framework with a few days study, and be competent at the same in a few week's practice, as well as fit their mind into the "problem space" for most any project within a few weeks of its commencement, then they may refer to themselves as professional programmers.

-Jerome

*Most every state in the U.S. has laws against impersonating an engineer (no joke). Projects "affecting the public welfare" require the oversight of a *licensed* engineer, and as such the law describes who may or may not refer to themselves as an "engineer". Needless to say these are almost never enforced, as large public works projects generally necessitate some checking of credentials, and non-engineers who use engineer in their job title (garbage collectors --> "sanitation engineers", janitors --> "building engineers" (no joke), housewives --> "domestic engineers", though admittedly the last was sort of a freak artifact of early 1990's political correctness), rarely undertake projects whose failure would jeopardize the public. A good analogy is the local masseuse calling herself a "massage physician", technically against the law, but until she starts doing basement appendectomies, no one really cares.

**Note, this is stranger than it seems, actually almost without precedent. Imagine the horror of an autodidact surgeon.
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