IEEE Computer Volume 12 Number 3 -- BOOK REVIEWS
Original Publication Date: 1979-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Software Patent Institute
Dr. Francis P. Mathur: AUTHOR [+2]
BOOK REVIEWS * B79-4 Programmers and Managers: The Routinization of Computer Programming in the United States -- Philip Kraft (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1977, 118 pp., $6.90)
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Dr. Francis P. Mathur
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(Note: publications reviewed in this section are not available from the IEEE Computer Society. Please order directly from the publisher.)
B79-4 Programmers and Managers: The Routinization of Computer Programming in the United States -- Philip Kraft (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1977, 118 pp., $6.90)
Are you part of an undifferentiated aggregate? Inserted or removed from your company's structure as determined by management? Slated to be recycled out of your job? According to the author, the answer is "yes" if you are at either of the bottom two levels of the following hierarchy: coders, programmers, programmer/analysts, system programmers, and system programmer/analysts. But then, again according to the author, such people do not read Computer, nor are they members of the IEEE, ACM, DPMA, or the like.
Philip Kraft, a sociologist, comes down hard on the professions of coding and programming. Coders and low-level applications programmers are the "grunts" of programming who have the physical task of constructing fragments of software that has been specified by those higher up the ladder in their company. Coding is a dead-end career. There is an appearance of advancement, but Kraft has found that coders "age" prematurely (build up high salaries that make them expendable) and have little chance to move up the ladder.
Those higher up are better off, but still face limitations and trouble in the latter parts of their careers unless they move out of the technical side of software development. Overall, Kraft presents a depressing view:
Programming is no longer the complex work of creative and perhaps, eccentric . - people. Instead, divided and routinized it has become mass production work parcelled out to interchangeable detail workers. Some software specialists still engage in intell...