5

Are the term programmer and developer interchangeable?

Is it that programmer is more an old usage, and developer is more trending, or there is more to it?

I can understand a coder is someone that may only code according to low-level designs, but programmer can start their project from high-level designs, or even user-requirement analysis, right?

"Sites that aren't language-related don't appreciate questions on semantics when the answers can't provide more meaningful information than a dictionary could"

If the answer exists in a dictionary, why would I ask it here? As Brandin has put it,

"Programmer" is the "everyman's" job title... OTOH when you say "developer", the everyman will probably think you're talking about something else, unrelated to computers.

E.g., programmer is a much better word than developer, but nowadays everyone tends to use developer and avoid programmer. It doesn’t make sense to me to go for a poorer choice, so I want to know why. No dictionary can explain why people are doing that. Furthermore, most people are doing that even without knowing why they are doing it. I understand that most of them don’t care, but I want to know.

My theory is because of the UI developers (who are not exactly programmers), and want to verify how well accepted that theory is (apparently not).

  • 6
    I've always seen them as interchangeable, but I always use developer personally – yuikonnu Jan 5 '16 at 23:52
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the Workplace is not a dictionary. – Lilienthal Jan 6 '16 at 0:29
  • 1
    @Lilienthal, understandable. But we both agree that this is workplace related, right? You many not care about the answer, but I do care. Thanks for your understanding. – grn Jan 6 '16 at 2:35
  • 1
    Counter-argument to nvoigt's blog post is here: simpleprogrammer.com/2013/05/26/job-titles All being said, "Programmer" is the "everyman's" job title. Like "teacher", "janitor", "manager", etc. Everyone knows what you mean when you say those words, even though your official job title may be different. OTOH when you say "developer", the everyman will probably think you're talking about something else, unrelated to computers. – Brandin Jan 6 '16 at 9:32
  • 3
    @grn No, I don't agree. It's equally (ir)relevant on StackOverflow or the Programmers SE and doesn't belong on any of those sites because it's purely a language question. Sites that aren't language-related don't appreciate questions on semantics when the answers can't provide more meaningful information than a dictionary could. – Lilienthal Jan 6 '16 at 11:13
8

Everywhere I have worked, the two terms have been interchangeable. Programmer as you said was used earlier, but developer has no difference that I can think of. I think it also depends where you are on which is used. No one calls them developers over here, but in NZ I heard them called both.

  • To add a little to this response - I find when you consider web developers, you don't see the term "web programmer". I'v always considered developer to be more for "overall" areas (such as web development, server development, etc), where as programmer was a more general use (e.g. He is a Java Programmer). Note that it could still go both ways (e.g. He is a Java Developer infers a wider knowledge in Java). I expect like you mentioned its probably also very cultural dependent. – Sh4d0wsPlyr Jan 6 '16 at 21:12
4

A title means exactly what a particular company intends it to mean nothing more nothing less.

Some companies use "programmer". Some companies use "developer". Some use both. Some use neither. A company that uses both may have some sort of hierarchy. Or it may not. A "Developer 1" at one company could well be the most senior title for someone that writes code while at another company "Developer 1" is the most junior title. I wouldn't get too hung up on a title.

If someone is looking at a resume, the description of what someone did is far more important than the title.

1

Yes. A programmer is a software developer. A higher level person would be like senior developer, design lead, or architect. The term senior (or junior) programmer is just not (typically) used.

0

Yes and no...

They tend to be on a spectrum - with developers expected to have more independence in direction than a programmer, but there's a rather large overlap.

Like any other role, it isn't the title as much as the job description (and responsibilities) which you need to look at.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.