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The reason why I ask this is because, when I read articles such as Wikipedia's HCI or reports on A.I., I find that much of what it talks about is actual design theory. Is this what most of Computer Science touches on? They say there's a difference between being a Coder and a Computer Scientist. Is this like the difference between an Architect and a Draftsman?


migration rejected from Oct 17 '13 at 0:12

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Dan Pichelman, GlenH7, jmo21, World Engineer Oct 17 '13 at 0:12

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

No, it's not like the difference between an Architect and a Draftsman. It's more like the difference between an architect and a cabinet maker, but that is still a very poor analogy. When done well, programming is a mixture of writing mathematics and writing prose. Some will get to the gist of the problem and produce clear and concise code rather quickly, while others produce a comparative mess. – kevin cline Sep 28 '11 at 1:32

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are trending answers here which sound great but I'll try to be more elaborate in answering your questions.

Is this what most of Computer Science touches on?

Well technically, yes.

They say there's a difference between being a Coder and a Computer Scientist.

Yes, there is a difference between a Coder and Computer Scientist but more often than not there is an overlap in terms of people. They tend to be both.

If I speak from my (limited) experience most business application will not require one to have good computer science skills.

On the other hand, when you see a good computer scientist there is a good chance they were good programmers earlier on (and maybe still are) in life.

As far as jobs go there are mostly two kind of jobs:

  1. Jobs which require programming skills but don't really require you to have Computer Science knowledge.
  2. Jobs which do require some Computer Science knowledge (specifically algorithms, data structures, etc. but may be not Turing machines, etc.) alongside good programming ability.

Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.

Edsger W. Dijkstra

I wasn't aware your friend was an instance of Dijkstra. – BlackJack Sep 28 '11 at 1:29
+1! I had suspected that he was a clone of someone else, but I my search didn't turn up anyone. I'll correct that. – Thomas Levine Sep 28 '11 at 1:31
What astronomer in their right mind never looks through a telescope? If computer science is not about computers, Dijkstra should have proposed a name change. – Robert Harvey Oct 10 '13 at 18:04

Is this like the difference between an Architect and a Draftsman?

No. Computer Science and Programming is like Architect and Carpenter.

Or like Chemist and Chemical Lab Tech. Or like Electrical Engineer and a factory assembly tech.

The point is that theory involves programming. Programming may (or may not) involve any theory. Some programmers -- as evidenced by questions on Stack Overflow -- have a limited grasp of computer science.


I'm in my Senior year as a Computer Science major, and unfortunately my programming skills are rather weak.

I know a lot of theory but the implementation portion of it is something I still need to work on.

I hope that helps!


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