The Difference between a "Programmer" and a "Professional"
Published: 08/30/2010 by amit
Programming is a skill. Like any skill, with the right amount of training and dedication, it can be learned by almost anyone. This raises an important question: does programming experience alone make one a professional web programmer? The answer is a definite no. A professional web programmer is more than just an expert in coding; they possess vital character traits and ethics that cannot be taught in a programming class. True professionals demonstrate dedication, leadership, and integrity in every aspect of their work, and the importance of these principles cannot be stressed enough.
First, a professional displays dedication, both to the quality of their work and to their clients. This is no small feat. He or she does not just follow coding instructions; they do everything they possibly can to understand their client's individual needs before a single key is struck. This involves both interpersonal communication and a great deal of research, for once a true professional understands exactly what their client wants, they are responsible for utilizing the best approach to achieve that goal. Professionals do not just copy and paste code from other projects. They are dedicated to ensuring that every line of code meets the client's specific needs, on every project they work on.
Next, a professional utilizes leadership and teamwork skills to achieve these goals. They are not individual programmers; true professionals understand the importance of working together to best achieve the client's needs. As a team, professional web programmers create synergy, and achieve more than they ever could individually. Each individual contributes their own personal strengths to the same goal: making the client's needs a reality without compromise. Even more importantly, a professional must exercise leadership skills within themselves. They devote every moment of their time in the office to their work. While the average programmer might spend the first five minutes of their morning checking their email or reading the news, a professional is already knee-deep into their coding, while simultaneously researching ways of making it more efficient.
Finally, a professional web programmer demonstrates integrity in everything they do. This trait is the most critical of all, because it requires a level of internal strength absent in most developers. Programming often deals with the manipulation and storage of important data, and the burden of protecting that data falls entirely upon the programmer. A real professional makes every effort to assure that their client's sensitive data is protected against outside attacks. New security exploits and vulnerabilities are discovered daily, and it is entirely the responsibility of the professional web programmer to guarantee their programming skills are on the cutting edge. In most cases, clients never look at a project's code. A programmer lacking integrity could save time by pasting code from the internet without even considering data security, and the client would be none the wiser. The professional, on the other hand, understands that delivering the best product involves time and effort, even if the client is unaware of the extra work they put in.