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Cultures of Code

Looking at different reasons, and methods, for software development.

Those who approach computing from computer science backgrounds differ in their goals and methodologies from those who approach it from computation science or software development perspectives.

Credit: Brian Hayes

From its very inception, computing has been a fragmented field, writes Brian Hayes. He provides the example of three professionals who use and develop software on a daily basis in their jobs, but come at it from completely different perspectives: a computer scientist studying parallel algorithms, a physicist who uses code to model fluid behaviors, and a software developer with no formal computer science training but a great deal of personal experience.

Hayes says this sort of fragmentation is common and likely will only increase in the future. As the push to teach more people to code grows, an increasing number of people will start acquiring programming skills, but there is no unified approach to programming, so the field is likely to continue to fragment as these new coders take the discipline in their own direction.

Hayes notes that several attempts have been made over the years to create uniform, professionalized standards and certifications for programming, but they have usually faltered. He worries that ongoing fragmentation, "seems unwise and unhealthy, a recipe for reinventing wheels and making the same mistake three times over."

From American Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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