R vs. Python, or programming vs. software engineering

I read a recent debate whether R is better than Python, or better than SQL, and which flavor of SQL is best.

Which reminded me of an old series of workshops I organized years ago, when I was arguing for software engineering instead of programming. 


"You are thinking as a programmer, not as a scientist or engineer, or architect", I said.


Programmers talk about programming languages, and their preferences for one or another. But engineers should move from a language to another with ease. Languages and technologies are bricks: masons lay bricks, but engineers design structures.

So, a programmer might know Transact SQL. A good programmer might know standard SQL, T-SQL, MySQL and PL/Sql. But an engineer and an architect know relational mathematics, so learning a new SQL flavor becomes a matter of rtfm.


My workshops on software engineering vs. programming were not very successful. Maybe I was too ambitious, and I condensed too much information - it became somehow a crash course in software engineering and project management.

Maybe my audience was too young.

Or maybe people just enjoy writing code.

Comments