Programming is an Art

  • March 15, 2013
  • Scott

It has always bothered me that people think programming is a “rote” exercise. “Hand me the requirements and the code practically writes itself.”  We’re all willing to accept that writing a short story, a novella, or a novel is an art.  And that journalism (done well) is an art.  Product design?  Yep.

Lots of professions are accepted as being both skill and art. But most people (who don’t write code) have no appreciate for the art of it because they don’t read and write it every day.  As if two programmers who write a solution to the same problem will write essentially the same code.  Hardly ever true.  A great programmer will write something that other coders will consider artistic-  simple, clean, elegant.  An average programmer will write something that every other coder would look at and see opportunities for improvement.

Programming is an art, as well as a skill, or discipline.  Jack Dorsey of Square put it this way:

“A lot of people think about programming and engineering as this really mechanical thing. But it’s an art form, as well. It’s another language.”

Precisely.  Since when is use of language not art?


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