Are you a Programmer or a Coder?

Are programmers and Coders the most neglected link in the Software Development Chain? Coders are like smart assembly line workers as opposed to programmers who are plant engineers. Programmers are the brains, the glorious visionaries who create things. Large software programmers that often run into billions of lines are designed and developed by a handful of programmers. Coders follow instructions of the large program.

Some industry experts have put in that — if programming requires a post graduate level of knowledge of complex algorithms and programming methods, coding requires only high school knowledge of the subject. Coding is deemed repetitive and monotonous.

During many events, like the one last week in India at the annual fair of the software industry’s apex body Nasscom, no one mentioned anything about Programmer or aptly the coders. The event, which brought together software professionals from around the world, used up all its 29 sessions to discuss prospects to improve the performance of software companies. Panels chose to debate extensively on subjects like managing innovation, business growth and multiple geographies. But there was nothing on programmers/coders, whom we all believed are the driving force behind the success of any software company.

It has been an eternal battle between the business cubicles and the programmers box if technology drives the business or vice versa. Well, one compliments the other.

Are you a Programmer or a Coder?

In the Indian context, the software professionals aka the programmers aka the coders are the poster boy of Matrimonial classifieds. They are well paid, perceived to be intelligent and travel abroad frequently on software assignments. Or, are they really? Are they paid appropriately for the slogging they do? Are they really intelligent or they follow the directions of the business directives? They travel but do they have a choice, or are they flown and placed like pawns at strategic location by the kings (business tycoons)? Yes, it is an open secret fact which Software Companies won’t say/accept — that Software Professionals specially in India are not programmers but mere coders, they are the assembly line workers.

A Microsoft analyst have rightly said, “Like our manufacturing Industry, the Indian software industry is largely a process driven one. That should speak for the fact that we still don’t have a domestic software product like Yahoo or Google to use in our daily lives.” Is this also another reason that, IIT graduates have consciously shunned India’s best known companies like Infosys and TCS, though they are offered very attractive salaries?

American companies still feel that most of the so called engineers in Indian companies are mere coders. They are almost identical workers who sat along hours to write lines after lines of codes, or test a fraction of a program. They did not complain because their pay and perks were good. Another fuel to this fire is that of the Indian social fabric. Parents, families and spouses do not know or care about the type of works programmers or coders do, they are more interested in the Name of the Company they work for, their monthly paycheck and the ability to include terms like Software Professionals, BPO Team Lead, working in MNC, in their matrimonial classifieds.

Of late, there are uprisings everywhere, emotionally among Programmers in many software companies. They are yearning to do something on their own, something out of the ordinary due to the increasing feeling of dejection. Many programmers want to get out of their routine monotonous coding which no longer excite them. Programmers are toying with ideas of moving out of some of the reputed companies, where they are like caterpillars climbing a wall without knowing how high the wall is.

This is perhaps just the beginning.

Do you want to be a programmer or a coder?

Note: Inspired by an article from yesterday’s Times of India Print Newspaper – A myth called the Indian programmer.

UPDATES

  • 2007 Feb 19: Om Mallick talks about the Troubling Signs for Indian Tech Outsourcers and says that there is bad news for those investors in one of the many US listed technology outsourcing giants such as Infosys. They are no longer the cherished destination for the brightest and the smartest in India.
  • "They are almost identical workers who sat along hours to write lines after lines of codes, or test a fraction of a program. They did not complain because their pay and perks were good"

    Hi Brajeshwar,
    This is a very well written article. Thanks for making people aware of this, which holds very true, specially in India.

    In India, "Coders" seem to care less about where they are heading by doing the same type of work day/night [ How high is the wall again? ]. This could also eventually rust the entrepreneur inside them.

    Before reading this article, I would have always thought coders and programmers are the same. Now i see, they are very much different.

    Thanks again,
    -Prakash

  • "They are almost identical workers who sat along hours to write lines after lines of codes, or test a fraction of a program. They did not complain because their pay and perks were good"

    Hi Brajeshwar,
    This is a very well written article. Thanks for making people aware of this, which holds very true, specially in India.

    In India, "Coders" seem to care less about where they are heading by doing the same type of work day/night [ How high is the wall again? ]. This could also eventually rust the entrepreneur inside them.

    Before reading this article, I would have always thought coders and programmers are the same. Now i see, they are very much different.

    Thanks again,
    -Prakash

  • I didn't know people thought there was a difference?

    I've called myself a programmer before, I've called myself a coder, I've called myself a software engineer, but most of the time I just call myself a developer...

    They seem to pay me all the same 🙂

  • I didn't know people thought there was a difference?

    I've called myself a programmer before, I've called myself a coder, I've called myself a software engineer, but most of the time I just call myself a developer...

    They seem to pay me all the same 🙂

  • @Prakash -- Thanks
    @Mark -- It is not just about the payments but more about the type of work and usage of our skills. It is more on the emphasis that more and more programmers are now being utilized to do the mundane monotous task of coding without really utilizing their skills to do creative engineering.

  • @Prakash -- Thanks
    @Mark -- It is not just about the payments but more about the type of work and usage of our skills. It is more on the emphasis that more and more programmers are now being utilized to do the mundane monotous task of coding without really utilizing their skills to do creative engineering.

  • There are more classifications. The engineers and the architects. These two are on the top of the chain, while programmers are below.

  • There are more classifications. The engineers and the architects. These two are on the top of the chain, while programmers are below.

  • Doug

    Most companies here don't know what the hell to call web developers. In the end, I agree with Mark - as long as they pay me well, I don't care what they call me: developer, programmer (although I don't think a web developer is a real programmer in many contexts and I do not consider myself a "programmer"), software engineer or code monkey... Whether they put a senior on my title or II or III or IV, etc. As long as I'm doing what I like and am paid well, I don't care.

    I have never heard an official job listing of anything with "coder" in it except maybe "HTML coder". From my standpoint it's an artificial distinction or at least doesn't translate the same here.

  • Doug

    Most companies here don't know what the hell to call web developers. In the end, I agree with Mark - as long as they pay me well, I don't care what they call me: developer, programmer (although I don't think a web developer is a real programmer in many contexts and I do not consider myself a "programmer"), software engineer or code monkey... Whether they put a senior on my title or II or III or IV, etc. As long as I'm doing what I like and am paid well, I don't care.

    I have never heard an official job listing of anything with "coder" in it except maybe "HTML coder". From my standpoint it's an artificial distinction or at least doesn't translate the same here.

  • smr

    "Mechanics use tools developed by engineers/researchers to do their job. And so de we programmers/ software engineers. We use the tools developed by others to work like a mechanic. Following some guidelines set by some one else, to finish a job, using a more or less fixed procedure. We just learn to use the tool, like the mechanic do."

    nice article

  • coder,programmer,developper,software engineer is just all the same to me. They all make things work.

  • coder,programmer,developper,software engineer is just all the same to me. They all make things work.

  • bluebonics

    if you know syntax such as push, mov, rep, pop and ret, then you're a programmer... otherwise, you're a coder 😛

  • bluebonics

    if you know syntax such as push, mov, rep, pop and ret, then you're a programmer... otherwise, you're a coder 😛

  • KE Mitchell

    "if programming requires a post graduate level of knowledge of complex algorithms and programming methods, coding requires only high school knowledge of the subject."

    Broad statement! By these criteria entire software projects could be completed by "mere coders" without "prorammer" assistance, assuming the project's requirements didn't play directly to the theoretical/mathematical basis which seems to differentiate the two "classes". A "coder" can be quite capable of learning project design / methodology and applying it effectively. You don't need lin al (99% of the time) to design an application. You need it to write certain parts of that application. Experience!

    Bottom line: personal complacency vs. drive to expand your skills. What kind of work are you going to commit yourself to? Big paycheck or delayed/professional payoff?

    I've met "programmers" who've never moved far beyond the niche they carved at University, and i've met dropouts who's skills are still expanding.

  • KE Mitchell

    "if programming requires a post graduate level of knowledge of complex algorithms and programming methods, coding requires only high school knowledge of the subject."

    Broad statement! By these criteria entire software projects could be completed by "mere coders" without "prorammer" assistance, assuming the project's requirements didn't play directly to the theoretical/mathematical basis which seems to differentiate the two "classes". A "coder" can be quite capable of learning project design / methodology and applying it effectively. You don't need lin al (99% of the time) to design an application. You need it to write certain parts of that application. Experience!

    Bottom line: personal complacency vs. drive to expand your skills. What kind of work are you going to commit yourself to? Big paycheck or delayed/professional payoff?

    I've met "programmers" who've never moved far beyond the niche they carved at University, and i've met dropouts who's skills are still expanding.

  • eric

    I don't understand what the big distinction is. Entry level jobs are tedious no matter the industry. One must prove their worth before given anything of consequence. Work as a code monkey for a few years, do well, get promoted, and the real sexy stuff begins. Unless you graduate from a top tier(very top) program or work at a startup, chances are no one is going to trust you to do anything meaningful anyway.

  • eric

    I don't understand what the big distinction is. Entry level jobs are tedious no matter the industry. One must prove their worth before given anything of consequence. Work as a code monkey for a few years, do well, get promoted, and the real sexy stuff begins. Unless you graduate from a top tier(very top) program or work at a startup, chances are no one is going to trust you to do anything meaningful anyway.

  • Jitu

    I agree with ur article and have always been of the same opinion (abt distinction between programmer and coder) except i've never named thosee 2 things differently.. i always maintained the main aspect of programming is not coding but figuring out the algorithm.. on that note, i would also like to addthat, one can be taught coding(syntax n blah blah blah), but programming has to be learnt thru experience.. 🙂

    -jitu

  • Jitu

    I agree with ur article and have always been of the same opinion (abt distinction between programmer and coder) except i've never named thosee 2 things differently.. i always maintained the main aspect of programming is not coding but figuring out the algorithm.. on that note, i would also like to addthat, one can be taught coding(syntax n blah blah blah), but programming has to be learnt thru experience.. 🙂

    -jitu

  • This is a pretty simple and easy way to figure out what you are...

    Does your job come to you outlined nicely in a word document or email saying "Write this section of code with this functionality" that someone else above you spec'ed for you...

    Or are you sitting in a meeting with a bunch of people saying "I wonder how we do that..."

    I've found myself in both roles. I figure if i get a software spec from someone else... i'm a grunt. a coder or a programmer.

    If i am writing the specs, decieding the approach or solving the over all issues, then it's engineering. You're using skills to solve the problem, you're not just the brick layer, laying the bricks, you're the desiginer finding the # of bricks it will take and the pattern that they should best be in for strength. You're an engineer.

    I've been on both sides of the fence. companies often think all the words are interchangeable. I personally don't... but any job can be listed as any of the above, depending on who's writing the monster post.

    All have their merits, and everyone has to start some where.

    This is not to say that programmers and coders aren't smarter than software engineers... or that there arent stupid software engineers out there... A ton of creative and talented programmers and coders exist... but they usually move up!

  • This is a pretty simple and easy way to figure out what you are...

    Does your job come to you outlined nicely in a word document or email saying "Write this section of code with this functionality" that someone else above you spec'ed for you...

    Or are you sitting in a meeting with a bunch of people saying "I wonder how we do that..."

    I've found myself in both roles. I figure if i get a software spec from someone else... i'm a grunt. a coder or a programmer.

    If i am writing the specs, decieding the approach or solving the over all issues, then it's engineering. You're using skills to solve the problem, you're not just the brick layer, laying the bricks, you're the desiginer finding the # of bricks it will take and the pattern that they should best be in for strength. You're an engineer.

    I've been on both sides of the fence. companies often think all the words are interchangeable. I personally don't... but any job can be listed as any of the above, depending on who's writing the monster post.

    All have their merits, and everyone has to start some where.

    This is not to say that programmers and coders aren't smarter than software engineers... or that there arent stupid software engineers out there... A ton of creative and talented programmers and coders exist... but they usually move up!

  • Dave

    This is just semantics. Does it matter as long as you get the work done? At the end of the day you're being paid to get work done for a company. You're NOT getting paid for your own personal glory or for a title that the company you work for doesn't care about.

    If you are concerned over which you are, programmer or coder, you really need to see the big picture.

  • Dave

    This is just semantics. Does it matter as long as you get the work done? At the end of the day you're being paid to get work done for a company. You're NOT getting paid for your own personal glory or for a title that the company you work for doesn't care about.

    If you are concerned over which you are, programmer or coder, you really need to see the big picture.

  • Verma

    This is exactly the reason why I left my well-paying job in India and moved to US.

    Eugenia and Doug, you guys are definitely "coders" (no flame intended)

  • Verma

    This is exactly the reason why I left my well-paying job in India and moved to US.

    Eugenia and Doug, you guys are definitely "coders" (no flame intended)

  • I don't care what they call me either, as long as the pay is high and the working conditions ideal.

    The further you get away from startups, the more you care about titles.

    In small startups / small teams, it's obvious what people are doing. If they aren't getting things done, or can only handle rote "coder" implementations, then people will know that. (doesn't matter what its called or what their official title is)

  • I don't care what they call me either, as long as the pay is high and the working conditions ideal.

    The further you get away from startups, the more you care about titles.

    In small startups / small teams, it's obvious what people are doing. If they aren't getting things done, or can only handle rote "coder" implementations, then people will know that. (doesn't matter what its called or what their official title is)

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  • Tathagata

    This is a very well written article and expresses the right scenario.Though many of the so called software gurus may not agree as it will definitely be a bang on their pride and diminish the halo that they carry around them, the software industry in India has created a lot of people who are in one word "unemployable".They have lost all their creative faculties in the process of delivering "scalable,robust and fault tolerant" systems.What most of them actually do is fix bugs and at the most enhance existing systems.It is very amusing to see that most of these hi tech techies have not read the most fundamental books on computer science, so called C++ programmers have never crossed the first page of Stroustrup, most of the Java gurus have never read Gosling's book and most of them will not be able to write a error free code for Quick sort.I have seen this scenario through the different interviews that I have taken of people from renowned companies.It is not that India lacks talents but these talents are most of the time either in US or have been destroyed by years of toiling in the sunshine sector.

    This article should at least be an eye opener for all of us.We can flatter every body in this world and make them believe that we are almost at par with Ritchie in terms of programming skills but we cannot lie to ourselves.Money is s short term goal.....fools run after money.....intelligent people make investments in such a way that money runs after them.We all should introspect and try to change the way we are today......not four years of no good B.Tech in which no one studies...then a software job ....then marriage....children...and the perpetual fear....deep down that we may be kicked out any time.

    India will only be able to compete with silicon valley if and only if it can bring out quality software products like US have done...if and only if it can produce a lot of Larry Page and Sergei Brin...... and the present does not forecast such a happening in the near future unless .................

  • Tathagata

    This is a very well written article and expresses the right scenario.Though many of the so called software gurus may not agree as it will definitely be a bang on their pride and diminish the halo that they carry around them, the software industry in India has created a lot of people who are in one word "unemployable".They have lost all their creative faculties in the process of delivering "scalable,robust and fault tolerant" systems.What most of them actually do is fix bugs and at the most enhance existing systems.It is very amusing to see that most of these hi tech techies have not read the most fundamental books on computer science, so called C++ programmers have never crossed the first page of Stroustrup, most of the Java gurus have never read Gosling's book and most of them will not be able to write a error free code for Quick sort.I have seen this scenario through the different interviews that I have taken of people from renowned companies.It is not that India lacks talents but these talents are most of the time either in US or have been destroyed by years of toiling in the sunshine sector.

    This article should at least be an eye opener for all of us.We can flatter every body in this world and make them believe that we are almost at par with Ritchie in terms of programming skills but we cannot lie to ourselves.Money is s short term goal.....fools run after money.....intelligent people make investments in such a way that money runs after them.We all should introspect and try to change the way we are today......not four years of no good B.Tech in which no one studies...then a software job ....then marriage....children...and the perpetual fear....deep down that we may be kicked out any time.

    India will only be able to compete with silicon valley if and only if it can bring out quality software products like US have done...if and only if it can produce a lot of Larry Page and Sergei Brin...... and the present does not forecast such a happening in the near future unless .................

  • Axe

    With all due respect to Doug and Mark, seems like you are not getting the point. The illustration is specific to India, you know - India - the Outsourcing dream .. blah blah ...

    Where the coders are paid 1/20 of american salaries ,sit on joint tables , tap away at code for 12 hours a day.

    Let me put it somewhat bluntly - programmers dont exist, atleast in the Indian software service industry. Coders exist - glorified clerks working in the software industry equivalent of workshops.And that is why American companies outsource to India, becoz coders here are cheaper (even after their salaries are presented as double - so as to allow company profit margins).And that is why american coders cant compete . You read blogs of people like Jeff Atwood - proclaiming the bill of rights of programmers : dual monitors , broadband , deluxe chairs , initial salary 60,000$ ,20% self time babble babble blah blah. How can the poor american compete with the Indian coder who works for 3000 $ on a plastic stool on a 14 inch ?

    So we can summarise that free market forces will continue the whole outsourcing idioticy and both the indian and outside programmers will suffer. How to beat that - well India could go the china way, but that aint fun. So the only option remaining for Indians coders is to become smarter and develop a spine.Do something on their own . And do dope . Or not .

    - End of Rant -

  • Axe

    With all due respect to Doug and Mark, seems like you are not getting the point. The illustration is specific to India, you know - India - the Outsourcing dream .. blah blah ...

    Where the coders are paid 1/20 of american salaries ,sit on joint tables , tap away at code for 12 hours a day.

    Let me put it somewhat bluntly - programmers dont exist, atleast in the Indian software service industry. Coders exist - glorified clerks working in the software industry equivalent of workshops.And that is why American companies outsource to India, becoz coders here are cheaper (even after their salaries are presented as double - so as to allow company profit margins).And that is why american coders cant compete . You read blogs of people like Jeff Atwood - proclaiming the bill of rights of programmers : dual monitors , broadband , deluxe chairs , initial salary 60,000$ ,20% self time babble babble blah blah. How can the poor american compete with the Indian coder who works for 3000 $ on a plastic stool on a 14 inch ?

    So we can summarise that free market forces will continue the whole outsourcing idioticy and both the indian and outside programmers will suffer. How to beat that - well India could go the china way, but that aint fun. So the only option remaining for Indians coders is to become smarter and develop a spine.Do something on their own . And do dope . Or not .

    - End of Rant -

  • smr

    "Mechanics use tools developed by engineers/researchers to do their job. And so de we programmers/ software engineers. We use the tools developed by others to work like a mechanic. Following some guidelines set by some one else, to finish a job, using a more or less fixed procedure. We just learn to use the tool, like the mechanic do."

    nice article

  • Anand

    Inspired or copied from OM + Times of India article ? Try Originality for a change

  • Anand

    Inspired or copied from OM + Times of India article ? Try Originality for a change

  • I am paid peanuts for being a programmer/analyst/coder. It makes not difference to me..

  • @Anand - I would suggest reading the whole article. And Om Mallick's articles appeared almost 24 hours later. It is not about ripping off from the NewsPaper; I saw the article that discusses the plight of the Indian Programmers and instantly struck me. Well, must be I am reactive when it comes to the Software Professional community and the technology circle. Thus, I reacted and put forth my thoughts. So, does Om Mallick who is an industry expert way beyond me. Both of us found the article hidden somewhere in the awkward last pages but it struck us at the right wavelengths - his intuition from techno-business angle and mine from the developers perspective.

    I'm mashing up the plight of many of us, and I may not be the person to have any solutions but I do care. Btw, I like his article and I submitted HIS article to Digg and not mine.

    But I think you don't get it, do you?

  • I am paid peanuts for being a programmer/analyst/coder. It makes not difference to me..

  • @Anand - I would suggest reading the whole article. And Om Mallick's articles appeared almost 24 hours later. It is not about ripping off from the NewsPaper; I saw the article that discusses the plight of the Indian Programmers and instantly struck me. Well, must be I am reactive when it comes to the Software Professional community and the technology circle. Thus, I reacted and put forth my thoughts. So, does Om Mallick who is an industry expert way beyond me. Both of us found the article hidden somewhere in the awkward last pages but it struck us at the right wavelengths - his intuition from techno-business angle and mine from the developers perspective.

    I'm mashing up the plight of many of us, and I may not be the person to have any solutions but I do care. Btw, I like his article and I submitted HIS article to Digg and not mine.

    But I think you don't get it, do you?

  • Manoj

    Interesting thought and quite true. And an interesting technology is trying to challenge this division between programmers and coders.

  • Manoj

    Interesting thought and quite true. And an interesting technology is trying to challenge this division between programmers and coders.

  • Dennie

    Great article, it got me thinking about the organisational aspect of developers:

    In my opinion it is architecture that makes great difference between good or bad software. Not the person writing code (besides the fact that you need experience). The difference between a programmer or a coder is only visible when building a proof of concept or doing pilotstudies. When, in your organisation, there is a visible difference between coders and programmers, than the programmers are driving the architecture of the product, not the architects. In that case: either instruct your programmers to stop thinking about architecture or just make them architects. Or, in XP-situations, make every coder become a programmer. Either way. Programmers/coders and architects have confilcting interests. You cannot do them both when building sustainable software in a team.

  • Dennie

    Great article, it got me thinking about the organisational aspect of developers:

    In my opinion it is architecture that makes great difference between good or bad software. Not the person writing code (besides the fact that you need experience). The difference between a programmer or a coder is only visible when building a proof of concept or doing pilotstudies. When, in your organisation, there is a visible difference between coders and programmers, than the programmers are driving the architecture of the product, not the architects. In that case: either instruct your programmers to stop thinking about architecture or just make them architects. Or, in XP-situations, make every coder become a programmer. Either way. Programmers/coders and architects have confilcting interests. You cannot do them both when building sustainable software in a team.

  • phinn

    All I know is 90%+ of Software engineers aren't really Engineers. To call yourself an Engineer you have to graduate from a credited Engineering school. And every programmer in existence now refers to themselves as an engineer and it's completely destroying the creditability of the title. And before you whine and say your job gave you that title then get a clue. Some credited Schools of Engineering now offer Software Engineering as a degree.

  • phinn

    All I know is 90%+ of Software engineers aren't really Engineers. To call yourself an Engineer you have to graduate from a credited Engineering school. And every programmer in existence now refers to themselves as an engineer and it's completely destroying the creditability of the title. And before you whine and say your job gave you that title then get a clue. Some credited Schools of Engineering now offer Software Engineering as a degree.

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  • Phill Kenoyer

    I always thought that a coder was someone who did HTML, PHP, and Bash scripts while a programmer was someone that builds desktop applications, server software, or anything that's compiled.

  • Phill Kenoyer

    I always thought that a coder was someone who did HTML, PHP, and Bash scripts while a programmer was someone that builds desktop applications, server software, or anything that's compiled.

  • Will

    Architect's are the visionarys not programmers. Given half a chance a programmer or coder will go off and start wrting code withour fully uinderstanding the requirements. They can get so caught up in the Technology that they miss the business point.

    An architects are much sexier than a pencil carrying, pocket protecting, caffee breath programmer.

    This should spark some debate... lol

  • Will

    Architect's are the visionarys not programmers. Given half a chance a programmer or coder will go off and start wrting code withour fully uinderstanding the requirements. They can get so caught up in the Technology that they miss the business point.

    An architects are much sexier than a pencil carrying, pocket protecting, caffee breath programmer.

    This should spark some debate... lol

  • chizztheCSCgrad

    I just graduated a major university with a computer scicence degree, and hated every minute of it. I really don't like coding. It is boring, and results are never what they're supposed to be. After spending days on an assignment, then try to test only to get some stupid error that I can't locate was driving me up a wall. We were never taught how to use debuggers, and had to code through telnet/SSH on a black screen with white letters. The mouse didn't work! Hell, freshman year, backspace didn't work. Delete key was used instead. Coding is for smart monekys to pound keys and make crap work. I am interested in how to make it work, not rewriting code that was probably written decades ago in several languages. I hate coding, and I'm really glad I graduated and hopefully never have to code some stupid database program in assembly to keep track of a fake sport.

  • chizztheCSCgrad

    I just graduated a major university with a computer scicence degree, and hated every minute of it. I really don't like coding. It is boring, and results are never what they're supposed to be. After spending days on an assignment, then try to test only to get some stupid error that I can't locate was driving me up a wall. We were never taught how to use debuggers, and had to code through telnet/SSH on a black screen with white letters. The mouse didn't work! Hell, freshman year, backspace didn't work. Delete key was used instead. Coding is for smart monekys to pound keys and make crap work. I am interested in how to make it work, not rewriting code that was probably written decades ago in several languages. I hate coding, and I'm really glad I graduated and hopefully never have to code some stupid database program in assembly to keep track of a fake sport.

  • Coding can be fun sometime, but when you get lots of error, it really pisses you off. However, coding is part of improving algorithms and enhancing the efficiency of the codes. So, I would say programming and coding are just about the same, with slight difference. Programming is just an art of coding, in a practical sense.

  • Coding can be fun sometime, but when you get lots of error, it really pisses you off. However, coding is part of improving algorithms and enhancing the efficiency of the codes. So, I would say programming and coding are just about the same, with slight difference. Programming is just an art of coding, in a practical sense.

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  • Doug

    I was simply pointing out that the distinction doesn't translate to the US. And it's quite laughable to be classified one way or another from a simple comment (by a person who missed the point). From my experience those of us who have the skills (and supporting market to give all due respect to the programmers' plight in India) to negotiate pay don't really care about titles formulated by people who don't have a clue about programming in the first place. It's probably their fault that there's no good distinction between the terms 🙂

  • Doug

    I was simply pointing out that the distinction doesn't translate to the US. And it's quite laughable to be classified one way or another from a simple comment (by a person who missed the point). From my experience those of us who have the skills (and supporting market to give all due respect to the programmers' plight in India) to negotiate pay don't really care about titles formulated by people who don't have a clue about programming in the first place. It's probably their fault that there's no good distinction between the terms 🙂

  • Cameron Vetter

    What you mean is there are software engineer's and there are programmers/coders. I've always considered programmers and coders to be simultaneous. The role are discussing is more aptly described as a software engineer. The difference between an the two is that the software engineer actually engineers the program. A programmer just follows the plan that the engineer laid out. Maybe just semantics but I think that title is the key to your point.

  • Cameron Vetter

    What you mean is there are software engineer's and there are programmers/coders. I've always considered programmers and coders to be simultaneous. The role are discussing is more aptly described as a software engineer. The difference between an the two is that the software engineer actually engineers the program. A programmer just follows the plan that the engineer laid out. Maybe just semantics but I think that title is the key to your point.

  • Justin

    I agree with Cameron. Programming and coding are synonymous to me, though I am neither.

    I'm a software engineer. I completed my education in the engineering school of my college. I don't just program or write code. I design how each part of the software works together as well as implement said parts through programming. Programming is a subset of what a software engineer does.

  • Justin

    I agree with Cameron. Programming and coding are synonymous to me, though I am neither.

    I'm a software engineer. I completed my education in the engineering school of my college. I don't just program or write code. I design how each part of the software works together as well as implement said parts through programming. Programming is a subset of what a software engineer does.

  • DW

    more elitest crap from snobby nerds. I'm an programmer and coder you dorks. THEY ARE THE SAME THING!

  • DW

    more elitest crap from snobby nerds. I'm an programmer and coder you dorks. THEY ARE THE SAME THING!

  • Yes a coder and very good one!

  • Yes a coder and very good one!

  • Dennie

    @DW: You are obviously a coder.

  • Dennie

    @DW: You are obviously a coder.

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  • You seem to be inventing stuff in your head without an ounce of understanding of what you're talking about. Programmer, coder... BALDERDASH!!

    Your article is totally misinformed, firstly Indian programmers are not at the bottom of the food chain ANYWHERE. Get that out of your head. They're NOT mere coders who're having their strings pulled by your smart PROGRAMMERS in the foreigns.

    Indian programmers are well respected for their acumen, and have made some major software projects worldwide...

    Now don't go implying that there's no major service like Yahoo in India. Have you checked some of the better Indian portals? They don't lack in comparison.

    Don't post drivel on your blog. Get your facts before you talk about stuff.

  • You seem to be inventing stuff in your head without an ounce of understanding of what you're talking about. Programmer, coder... BALDERDASH!!

    Your article is totally misinformed, firstly Indian programmers are not at the bottom of the food chain ANYWHERE. Get that out of your head. They're NOT mere coders who're having their strings pulled by your smart PROGRAMMERS in the foreigns.

    Indian programmers are well respected for their acumen, and have made some major software projects worldwide...

    Now don't go implying that there's no major service like Yahoo in India. Have you checked some of the better Indian portals? They don't lack in comparison.

    Don't post drivel on your blog. Get your facts before you talk about stuff.

  • Paul

    It is wise to be aware of the how the rest of the world perceives India. In the end, a real "programmer" (I would use the comparison engineer vs. coder) will rise above the paltry options that enterprise programming offers them. The harsh truth is that American companies value Indian technology for one thing and one thing only- low cost.

    The second that the outsourcing infrastructure (communication, network, business agility) is setup in China, Russia or any other untapped market, the thriving Bangalore boom will go bust as western companies look to save even more on the dollar. Why hire Indian teams when Chinese talent is cents to the dollar for the same man power? Don't kid yourself into thinking that it's talent, experience or loyalty which will keep American companies investing in India.

    Even today Banglore-based technology is looking grim as companies in the United States continue to be frustrated with the quality of the average Infosys/Cognizant coder/programmer and team. The investment continues not because everyone is happy with the results; it's because Wall Street rewards low cost initiatives. You have been warned!

  • Paul

    It is wise to be aware of the how the rest of the world perceives India. In the end, a real "programmer" (I would use the comparison engineer vs. coder) will rise above the paltry options that enterprise programming offers them. The harsh truth is that American companies value Indian technology for one thing and one thing only- low cost.

    The second that the outsourcing infrastructure (communication, network, business agility) is setup in China, Russia or any other untapped market, the thriving Bangalore boom will go bust as western companies look to save even more on the dollar. Why hire Indian teams when Chinese talent is cents to the dollar for the same man power? Don't kid yourself into thinking that it's talent, experience or loyalty which will keep American companies investing in India.

    Even today Banglore-based technology is looking grim as companies in the United States continue to be frustrated with the quality of the average Infosys/Cognizant coder/programmer and team. The investment continues not because everyone is happy with the results; it's because Wall Street rewards low cost initiatives. You have been warned!

  • ocp–time

    The bottom line is this in my humble opinion:
    The age old adage called "80-20 rule". 80% of the work is done by 20% of the work-horses.
    This has everything to do with human psyche, ego, technical skills, street smartness, creativity, humbleness, ethical

    perception etc. It is the same if you are working in Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Infosys, any small startups and even in Indian

    Railways, NASA etc.

    The other point is that nobody expects you to know what type of intermediate code a certain compiler generates these days. We

    have tools to measure the performance, debugging memory usage and the likes.

    What we are doing is use these tools made by world renowned geeks who produced C, C++, Java, MySQL, PHP, Ruby, Python and

    core applications ( Profilers, Memory Managers, Frameworks based on these mentioned tools). So be humble to your true

    master's, without them you will not write that much lines of code. Everthing is a library these days. We use them to suit our

    needs that's it. If you don't know how to use a library/framework then better do some other worth while things.

    The other thing is that we have only 2-3 world class products that the world knows and uses it -- like SQLYog, Tally etc.
    Most of the big Indian IT companies are simply service providers/system integrators where the service/system is already up

    and running and which is made by a handfull of true geeks.

    Another thing is we are wasting around 4 and half years studying the garbage things nobody uses it in real life in our

    engineering colleges and the likes. What we need is to learn the important concepts not just in Engineering ( Physics, Maths,

    Computer Science ) but in Econmics, Marketing, Social and Civic Knowledge, Philosophy, Language Skills etc. Be a better man

    first and knowledge and skills comes to you.

  • ocp–time

    The bottom line is this in my humble opinion:
    The age old adage called "80-20 rule". 80% of the work is done by 20% of the work-horses.
    This has everything to do with human psyche, ego, technical skills, street smartness, creativity, humbleness, ethical

    perception etc. It is the same if you are working in Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Infosys, any small startups and even in Indian

    Railways, NASA etc.

    The other point is that nobody expects you to know what type of intermediate code a certain compiler generates these days. We

    have tools to measure the performance, debugging memory usage and the likes.

    What we are doing is use these tools made by world renowned geeks who produced C, C++, Java, MySQL, PHP, Ruby, Python and

    core applications ( Profilers, Memory Managers, Frameworks based on these mentioned tools). So be humble to your true

    master's, without them you will not write that much lines of code. Everthing is a library these days. We use them to suit our

    needs that's it. If you don't know how to use a library/framework then better do some other worth while things.

    The other thing is that we have only 2-3 world class products that the world knows and uses it -- like SQLYog, Tally etc.
    Most of the big Indian IT companies are simply service providers/system integrators where the service/system is already up

    and running and which is made by a handfull of true geeks.

    Another thing is we are wasting around 4 and half years studying the garbage things nobody uses it in real life in our

    engineering colleges and the likes. What we need is to learn the important concepts not just in Engineering ( Physics, Maths,

    Computer Science ) but in Econmics, Marketing, Social and Civic Knowledge, Philosophy, Language Skills etc. Be a better man

    first and knowledge and skills comes to you.

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  • Have to agree with you on the statement that Indians are more on coder side than on programmer side. The reason is fairly simple, poor teaching techniques and methodologies taught even in Top Engineering universities.

  • Have to agree with you on the statement that Indians are more on coder side than on programmer side. The reason is fairly simple, poor teaching techniques and methodologies taught even in Top Engineering universities.

  • yes, we indian are great though hardware are well establish by other country but we indian leads in software

  • yes, we indian are great though hardware are well establish by other country but we indian leads in software

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  • performance

    Salut !

  • performance

    Salut !

  • kingtaj

    This is an argument of semantics, one which clearly would only be raised by a programmer with too much free time.

  • kingtaj

    This is an argument of semantics, one which clearly would only be raised by a programmer with too much free time.

  • Anand Muthu

    *Programming or Coding* its all depends on where we are working. We do have Programmers here in INDIA who created HotMail , etc ( I think , you know more ppl). Big Gaints are opening their _R&D_ center ( Semantec , Yahoo , Google , Amazon , Ebay , iSoft, Deshaw , SAP Labs etc ) in INDIA with high efficient programmers. So, All the geeky nature is depend on the *companY thaT wE arE workinG foR* ..

    [...] I am a Geek , I Guess [...]

  • Anand Muthu

    *Programming or Coding* its all depends on where we are working. We do have Programmers here in INDIA who created HotMail , etc ( I think , you know more ppl). Big Gaints are opening their _R&D_ center ( Semantec , Yahoo , Google , Amazon , Ebay , iSoft, Deshaw , SAP Labs etc ) in INDIA with high efficient programmers. So, All the geeky nature is depend on the *companY thaT wE arE workinG foR* ..

    [...] I am a Geek , I Guess [...]

  • Interesting thought and quite true. And an interesting technology is trying to challenge this division between programmers and coders.

  • Interesting thought and quite true. And an interesting technology is trying to challenge this division between programmers and coders.

  • There are more classifications. The engineers and the architects. These two are on the top of the chain, while programmers are below.

  • There are more classifications. The engineers and the architects. These two are on the top of the chain, while programmers are below.

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  • Tjerk

    Coders and Programmers are the same thing. Software Architects on the other hand are the ones who think out the architecture of the program, they dont need to code.

    The language to talk about software programs are diagrams ( UML Etc )... The actual coding is simpel work.

  • Tjerk

    Coders and Programmers are the same thing. Software Architects on the other hand are the ones who think out the architecture of the program, they dont need to code.

    The language to talk about software programs are diagrams ( UML Etc )... The actual coding is simpel work.

  • dynn

    Coders and programmers are not the same.Coders more higher rank than programmer.

  • dynn

    Coders and programmers are not the same.Coders more higher rank than programmer.

  • awesome article. and studyin engineering but don't feel that learn anything 🙂

  • awesome article. and studyin engineering but don't feel that learn anything 🙂

  • This is interesting topic to be debated.

  • This is interesting topic to be debated.

  • smt

    if you try to do your best, and you like what you produce, you simply are _happy_, no matter if you manage HTML or assembly.

  • smt

    if you try to do your best, and you like what you produce, you simply are _happy_, no matter if you manage HTML or assembly.

  • Dinkerson

    "A Microsoft analyst have rightly said, “Like our manufacturing Industry, the Indian software industry is largely a process driven one."

    America's manufacturing industry has shrunk to a shadow of its former self, as we import more and more low cost goods from other countries. One could argue that the Indian software industry is a slice of the American manufacturing sector.

  • Dinkerson

    "A Microsoft analyst have rightly said, “Like our manufacturing Industry, the Indian software industry is largely a process driven one."

    America's manufacturing industry has shrunk to a shadow of its former self, as we import more and more low cost goods from other countries. One could argue that the Indian software industry is a slice of the American manufacturing sector.

  • OWS

    Programmer thinks about what his doing. Coder just writes a code that he was told to write.

  • OWS

    Programmer thinks about what his doing. Coder just writes a code that he was told to write.

  • Indian programmers are dumb. they are only good for labor intensive tasks. all the long hours they put are a waste, they type the same thing again and again, they don;t know how to automate things, they need clear instructions, they are not good for intellectual work

  • Indian programmers are dumb. they are only good for labor intensive tasks. all the long hours they put are a waste, they type the same thing again and again, they don;t know how to automate things, they need clear instructions, they are not good for intellectual work

  • No matter what it is, it still require a full commitment.

  • No matter what it is, it still require a full commitment.

  • It seens I'm none of them. Uh 🙁

  • It seens I'm none of them. Uh 🙁

  • Ivan

    I am going to start studying php. Coding rules.

  • Ivan

    I am going to start studying php. Coding rules.

  • I'd like to be a programmer but right now, i'm just coder 🙁

  • I'd like to be a programmer but right now, i'm just coder 🙁

  • See also - Programmer VS Developer VS Consultant.

  • See also - Programmer VS Developer VS Consultant.

  • Well that makes sense. Though all programmers used to be coders. 🙂

  • Well that makes sense. Though all programmers used to be coders. 🙂

  • John

    What is the difference between programmers and coders? The first ones have broader approach. They see the forest though coders see just trees.

  • John

    What is the difference between programmers and coders? The first ones have broader approach. They see the forest though coders see just trees.

  • Well, both coders and programmers are needed to create soft. Both are important.

  • Well, both coders and programmers are needed to create soft. Both are important.

  • PTMor

    In the begining we all were coders. But not everybody wish to be prorgammer. Not everybody ready to work hard and think. Blue sky thinking - that's the diffrence between them. Stop coding!

  • PTMor

    In the begining we all were coders. But not everybody wish to be prorgammer. Not everybody ready to work hard and think. Blue sky thinking - that's the diffrence between them. Stop coding!

  • jkojs

    If Indians are so smart, then howcome they dont innovate anything in IT. Howcome, its still a Third World country. The biggest joke is, USA looking for 'highly technical skilled IT manpower' from India, a Third world country which itself is depending on Western countries for technical goods. They boast of 50 million IT people in India. They feel they are smart.But in reality its the opposite. Ofcourse, there maybe few thousands brilliant people in India but it also has 1.1 Billion population. Also India has the worst infrastructure, rampant corruption, heavy pollution, notorious racism via caste system, child beggars, very young prostituted girls etc. Ever since 1997 when Indians came in large droves on H1 and L1, the quality of the IT along with wages started to go down drastically.
    According to survey, only far less than 25% of the Indians on H1B visa are really qualified to do the highly skilled technical jobs. No big suprises. These Indians only want quick money in short term and IT industry is the answer. Thats why the immigants from the Third World (in particular, Indians) choose this path and the quality is declining.

    After all, it is the Western companies who are outsourcing the projects to India. These Indians
    make us believe that if we ban H1B visas, then USA will loose competitive edge because these folks will go back to their country. But the point is, they still work for the Western companies where much of the Software life cycle is done and these Indians involve only in lousy coding and testing part of the software life cycle.
    Also,i can bet you that Indian H1B'S hire only their own kind. And their code smells bad too.

    Good luck to those employers who hire these Indians because the applications will crash due to these Indians semi-skilled low productivity.

    95% of the Indian H1B programmers are not involved in any of the complex programming tasks whether it is Compilers, Debbuggers, Assemblers, Open source projects, Frameworks, Automation Tools, Game Consoles etc. I bet they are just 'Copy and Paste' coders. This shows they have no passion and they are just in it make quick buck. They have no clue of their projects.
    Afterall, most of the software is invented from the 'basements or garages' of the Western households (eg- Google).

    As someone pointed out , Indians 'need to code' (just for only money) whereas Western Programmers 'want to code' (both Passion and money). This is why Indian code smells very bad and has to be again re-coded at the later stage by the non-Indian programmers hence defeating the main purpose of the 'cheap hence profitable' IT oursourcing.

    The Wall Street will repent in the future regarding the pitfalls of the IT industry outsourcing to India.

    • Jherch77

      Do you even know where the term Third World Country comes from? Why do people insist on using that term to mean 'poor or undeveloped countries'.

  • jkojs

    If Indians are so smart, then howcome they dont innovate anything in IT. Howcome, its still a Third World country. The biggest joke is, USA looking for 'highly technical skilled IT manpower' from India, a Third world country which itself is depending on Western countries for technical goods. They boast of 50 million IT people in India. They feel they are smart.But in reality its the opposite. Ofcourse, there maybe few thousands brilliant people in India but it also has 1.1 Billion population. Also India has the worst infrastructure, rampant corruption, heavy pollution, notorious racism via caste system, child beggars, very young prostituted girls etc. Ever since 1997 when Indians came in large droves on H1 and L1, the quality of the IT along with wages started to go down drastically.
    According to survey, only far less than 25% of the Indians on H1B visa are really qualified to do the highly skilled technical jobs. No big suprises. These Indians only want quick money in short term and IT industry is the answer. Thats why the immigants from the Third World (in particular, Indians) choose this path and the quality is declining.

    After all, it is the Western companies who are outsourcing the projects to India. These Indians
    make us believe that if we ban H1B visas, then USA will loose competitive edge because these folks will go back to their country. But the point is, they still work for the Western companies where much of the Software life cycle is done and these Indians involve only in lousy coding and testing part of the software life cycle.
    Also,i can bet you that Indian H1B'S hire only their own kind. And their code smells bad too.

    Good luck to those employers who hire these Indians because the applications will crash due to these Indians semi-skilled low productivity.

    95% of the Indian H1B programmers are not involved in any of the complex programming tasks whether it is Compilers, Debbuggers, Assemblers, Open source projects, Frameworks, Automation Tools, Game Consoles etc. I bet they are just 'Copy and Paste' coders. This shows they have no passion and they are just in it make quick buck. They have no clue of their projects.
    Afterall, most of the software is invented from the 'basements or garages' of the Western households (eg- Google).

    As someone pointed out , Indians 'need to code' (just for only money) whereas Western Programmers 'want to code' (both Passion and money). This is why Indian code smells very bad and has to be again re-coded at the later stage by the non-Indian programmers hence defeating the main purpose of the 'cheap hence profitable' IT oursourcing.

    The Wall Street will repent in the future regarding the pitfalls of the IT industry outsourcing to India.

  • We'll never have a domestic product like Google or Yahoo. Why? We live in a country where 256Kbps connection is classified as broadband and my 2Mbps line is a luxury available only at very few places. Unless innovative minds get a supportive infrastructure and environment, we'll remain a nation of coders only. Mind you, your softwares/services factoriies won't run without coders but we do need programmers and doemestic googles and yahoos

  • We'll never have a domestic product like Google or Yahoo. Why? We live in a country where 256Kbps connection is classified as broadband and my 2Mbps line is a luxury available only at very few places. Unless innovative minds get a supportive infrastructure and environment, we'll remain a nation of coders only. Mind you, your softwares/services factoriies won't run without coders but we do need programmers and doemestic googles and yahoos

  • " Indian software industry is largely a process driven one..."

  • " Indian software industry is largely a process driven one..."

  • AK

    Making an engineer a coder, the literary synthesis of these techniques could very well become a bestseller called "How to successfully waste an Engineer". It is a sheer waste of ideas and potential that could be used for something else. Of course, people with very little formal education like high schoolers for eg. and good analytical skills could be trained (in english and industry practices) to become excellent coders, but definitely not guys with engineering degrees, nothwithstanding the "low quality of engineering education in the country". It simply doesn't make sense. If the country needs cheap labor money, maybe, but not if there is an alternative, and there and bound to be alternatives. The engineers themselves can create them.

  • AK

    Making an engineer a coder, the literary synthesis of these techniques could very well become a bestseller called "How to successfully waste an Engineer". It is a sheer waste of ideas and potential that could be used for something else. Of course, people with very little formal education like high schoolers for eg. and good analytical skills could be trained (in english and industry practices) to become excellent coders, but definitely not guys with engineering degrees, nothwithstanding the "low quality of engineering education in the country". It simply doesn't make sense. If the country needs cheap labor money, maybe, but not if there is an alternative, and there and bound to be alternatives. The engineers themselves can create them.

  • Aili

    I am definitely a coder,
    but sometimes I want to quit this job ))))

  • Aili

    I am definitely a coder,
    but sometimes I want to quit this job ))))

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  • ASHUTOSH CHAUDHARY

    well iam literaly sorry to say that your differenece about coders and programmers does not sound correct. and when you say that india does not have companies like google or microsoft. let me make you clear that main language on which most of the programmers are working is the c. Ok got it and c was developed by the bell lab teams not by the like of google or microsoft or the like of bill gates. all of these firms harnessed c capabilities. although a few developed c further. so initially nearly all languages are based on c and your so called programmers are developing their languages from c language like php is developed from c language so that does not make them programmers, they themselves too are coders. if you so called programmers lived in U.S or out of world then they should have created a more competent language to c. But reality is a bit changed the real programmers who developed c in 80's got nothing where as the people who harnessed c's power became billionaires.
    A programmer is of no value if a coder is not there to implement his ideas. what if a language is developed but there is no application concerning it. let me tell you gone are the days of real computer scientists (not mere programmers) today more or less all are either developers (language improovers or coders). and please dont be swayed away by someones word, after all everone has its own luck. And also guys do stop blaming indians although iam also too much like you in this case (zero tolerance) but let me tell you in this era where you live the one whom you think is better is the other way.

  • ASHUTOSH CHAUDHARY

    well iam literaly sorry to say that your differenece about coders and programmers does not sound correct. and when you say that india does not have companies like google or microsoft. let me make you clear that main language on which most of the programmers are working is the c. Ok got it and c was developed by the bell lab teams not by the like of google or microsoft or the like of bill gates. all of these firms harnessed c capabilities. although a few developed c further. so initially nearly all languages are based on c and your so called programmers are developing their languages from c language like php is developed from c language so that does not make them programmers, they themselves too are coders. if you so called programmers lived in U.S or out of world then they should have created a more competent language to c. But reality is a bit changed the real programmers who developed c in 80's got nothing where as the people who harnessed c's power became billionaires.
    A programmer is of no value if a coder is not there to implement his ideas. what if a language is developed but there is no application concerning it. let me tell you gone are the days of real computer scientists (not mere programmers) today more or less all are either developers (language improovers or coders). and please dont be swayed away by someones word, after all everone has its own luck. And also guys do stop blaming indians although iam also too much like you in this case (zero tolerance) but let me tell you in this era where you live the one whom you think is better is the other way.

  • anonymous

    "Indians are mere coders and not programmers. This is because no Google or Yahoo was created in India"

    This is a highly flawed and shortsighted argument.
    There is very little difference between a coder and a programmer. The basic difference is that a programmer views it from an software engineering point of view whereas a coder has a smaller picture, just that of the program and its execution.
    But there is no natural law that states that Indians cannot think intellectually. If Indians could not think intellectually, how did an Indian called Sabeer Bhatia create Hotmail, a new and original idea.
    Most often a programmer does coding too and if someone has worked in a software industry in the US will know that sometimes the design as well as code is done by the same person, at-least in smaller firms. I don't think there is anything wrong in doing that. There can be creativity in everything, even if its something as simple as creating a website.
    That India does not have a Google has nothing to due with the intellectual capacity of its people, and everything to do with the infrastructure and resources that people over here have. Its takes time to stand on a pool of resources and start thinking about starting new things. In India, a job and survival is more important to most Indians than discovering new ways of doing things. Venture capital is almost non-existent for a person with ideas unless it falls into one of the tried and tested categories. Government support is also dismal because most elected people do not understand what is the meaning and importance of science and technology. So an entrepreneur, inventor or research is pretty much on his/her own. In the West these factors give a significant advantage to its inventors. Also since population is comparatively very low, there is less pressure to feed mouths and more space to start thinking creatively. Resources per person are also more.

    India is surely getting there and will surely get there when it become wealthier from revenues generated by low-cost services provided by "coders", but to blame it for lack of inventions when it just started off on the track of technology and economic prosperity is sheer childishness. Also given the fact that there are indeed Indians who can invent things, disproves the assertion that Indians are not inventive and intellectual by nature and it seems that instead of looking for racial, cultural or genetic reasons, we must be looking for personal, administrative and economic reasons to locate the true .

    • Gautam Somani

      I dont agree with you. There is a vast difference between a programmer and a coder, something which I myself (a system admin) have seen in the small IT company (around 40 IT staff) in which I work.

      We have just 3 to 4 people who actually discuss, decide, test, evaluate the logic of the program, and then they explain it to mere coders working under them, who will first try to use their mind to get it done, but will definitely fail and will then google to get a code, and then copy-paste it and tweak it according to their needs.

      And this is happening in many small IT companies across India. Not sure of the rest of the world. These self-proclaimed software engineers don't try to use their brains at all. In fact even in their graduation of software engineering, they had never studied the subjects thoroughly. They just mugged up things a month before exam, and write the answers. Never did they even read the reference books on subjects completely even once.

      As for the example of Sabeer Bhatia: just quoting one guy out of more than millions of IT people is not at all justified. It just cannot mean that everyone else is also equally brainy, intelligent, or a logic builder. NOPE. Not at all.

      I know coders, with whom I have worked on projects, who know nothing of logics and algorithms or new advances in software designing concepts, and yet they do get hired by big MNCs. And they want the MNCs for the same reason the author has stated. Good Salary, which means Good Life and a chance to marry a Good and beautiful girl. And that is what their families want to.

      And the root of the problem is the education system, which has been heavily commercialized. The colleges and universities just enroll students to get money (fees) from them. They don't care how good the professors and lecturer are. They don't even care about the attendance of students. Students come, they bunk in class, the attend some, they mug the answers, they try some coding, they pass the exams, they give interviews and that it.

      Even the companies who hire them know this, and hence they pay the the real programmers more. Lot more that the coders get. And even after getting hired, these coders just wait for years to pass and for the normal promotions to come and to finally get into management. After all, after working as a coder for 8 to 12 years, anyone would learn enough to lead a team or manage a project.

      And Yes! Like the author said in the end, there are some who want to do some real coding. Real programming. But again, there lack of skills and knowledge hamper that thinking too. Some of them do manage to relearn the basic skills and kinda restart their coding life, but rest, they just think and dream.

  • anonymous

    "Indians are mere coders and not programmers. This is because no Google or Yahoo was created in India"

    This is a highly flawed and shortsighted argument.
    There is very little difference between a coder and a programmer. The basic difference is that a programmer views it from an software engineering point of view whereas a coder has a smaller picture, just that of the program and its execution.
    But there is no natural law that states that Indians cannot think intellectually. If Indians could not think intellectually, how did an Indian called Sabeer Bhatia create Hotmail, a new and original idea.
    Most often a programmer does coding too and if someone has worked in a software industry in the US will know that sometimes the design as well as code is done by the same person, at-least in smaller firms. I don't think there is anything wrong in doing that. There can be creativity in everything, even if its something as simple as creating a website.
    That India does not have a Google has nothing to due with the intellectual capacity of its people, and everything to do with the infrastructure and resources that people over here have. Its takes time to stand on a pool of resources and start thinking about starting new things. In India, a job and survival is more important to most Indians than discovering new ways of doing things. Venture capital is almost non-existent for a person with ideas unless it falls into one of the tried and tested categories. Government support is also dismal because most elected people do not understand what is the meaning and importance of science and technology. So an entrepreneur, inventor or research is pretty much on his/her own. In the West these factors give a significant advantage to its inventors. Also since population is comparatively very low, there is less pressure to feed mouths and more space to start thinking creatively. Resources per person are also more.

    India is surely getting there and will surely get there when it become wealthier from revenues generated by low-cost services provided by "coders", but to blame it for lack of inventions when it just started off on the track of technology and economic prosperity is sheer childishness. Also given the fact that there are indeed Indians who can invent things, disproves the assertion that Indians are not inventive and intellectual by nature and it seems that instead of looking for racial, cultural or genetic reasons, we must be looking for personal, administrative and economic reasons to locate the true .

  • Current topic is similar to a perfect elastic or better you can say a typical long lasting indian TV serial (KSBKBT).

    Here, lots of people misguided topic to India, US, outsourcing... blah...blah...blah. There wz no need of it.

    Question is simple...Do you know what you are?

    A coder is what just write codes.

    A programmer is what this about design, paradigm and usability and then write codes.

    Ultimately a coder is somewhere within a programmer but a programmer's domain is much more bigger than a coder.

    Now think about a coder, who writes codes for a company for years now thinks to do something different. He starts thinking about something new. He is just trying but his try pushes him a step towards a programmer.

    So what do you think now?

    Whatever you think, I just love to solve coding puzzles. I love my work. Call me either a coder or a programmer or a developer or a nothing. I don't care.

  • Current topic is similar to a perfect elastic or better you can say a typical long lasting indian TV serial (KSBKBT).

    Here, lots of people misguided topic to India, US, outsourcing... blah...blah...blah. There wz no need of it.

    Question is simple...Do you know what you are?

    A coder is what just write codes.

    A programmer is what this about design, paradigm and usability and then write codes.

    Ultimately a coder is somewhere within a programmer but a programmer's domain is much more bigger than a coder.

    Now think about a coder, who writes codes for a company for years now thinks to do something different. He starts thinking about something new. He is just trying but his try pushes him a step towards a programmer.

    So what do you think now?

    Whatever you think, I just love to solve coding puzzles. I love my work. Call me either a coder or a programmer or a developer or a nothing. I don't care.

  • Splitting hairs about job titles is a waste of time and only important to those who need a title to identify their place in the technology pecking order. Most people I work with could not come up with cogent definitions that could distinguish coder, programmer, developer, engineer, architect or designer - nor do they care. Time, budget and specs... that's what they care about.

  • Splitting hairs about job titles is a waste of time and only important to those who need a title to identify their place in the technology pecking order. Most people I work with could not come up with cogent definitions that could distinguish coder, programmer, developer, engineer, architect or designer - nor do they care. Time, budget and specs... that's what they care about.

  • luke

    I have found that Indian coders are like an ant lost in the carpet, they simply can't find the way out!

    Even after step by step instructions of what is required they simply can't understand the concepts.

    Babysitting this type of programmer is needed and it is extremely time consuming and frustrating. They also will never admit that they don't understand what is required but the poor results always show their lack of conceptual thinking.

  • luke

    I have found that Indian coders are like an ant lost in the carpet, they simply can't find the way out!

    Even after step by step instructions of what is required they simply can't understand the concepts.

    Babysitting this type of programmer is needed and it is extremely time consuming and frustrating. They also will never admit that they don't understand what is required but the poor results always show their lack of conceptual thinking.

  • Luke 🙂

    send ur project to me. Don't be upset.

  • Luke 🙂

    send ur project to me. Don't be upset.

  • This article is only a great effort to create a huge apartheid between TI workers. Technology have a hungry for new jargon, and those words (coder, programmer, developer) are only a reflex of this fact.

  • This article is only a great effort to create a huge apartheid between TI workers. Technology have a hungry for new jargon, and those words (coder, programmer, developer) are only a reflex of this fact.

  • Anonymous

    Coders and programmers are secondary to true software engineers.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/node/28121/print

  • abc

    Is this also another reason that, IIT graduates have consciously shunned India’s best known companies like Infosys and TCS, though they are offered very attractive salaries? --- This is not true; In IITs, for Computer Science students the salaries offered by MNCs (and many other companies)  are significantly higher than what is offered by Infosys and TCS.

  • L Radhakrishna Rao

    What else would you except from indians, whose very mindset to get educated it just to get a 'JOB'. And the saddest part is that indians, even after getting a JOB, don't explore things in the field of software engineering. Programming is one part of software engineering, there are other elements too like architecture, technology, process, compliance etc.