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There is a third possibility (in addition to the two Tony Markatos has
Let me first say that I too, as a tech writer who sometimes helps
develop software specs, typically resort to data flow diagrams. Whenever
I do, the programmers are amazed; if they respect me, they see the
diagrams as a useful tool that they normally don't resort to, if they
don't, then they probably think I am from space.
Now the third possibility:
Win Day was speaking as an engineer, and Tony Markatos was speaking as
one working in the software develoment world. There can be a pretty big
difference between your typical IT or comp tech/programmer/hacker and a
certified engineer. Computer programming has a long history of being
approached form a "just make it work" attitude, whereas an engineer who
could not do a proper spec or map out a process would probably not make
it out of engineer school. Thus I suspect that companies and industries
which employ programmers (results focus) are not necessarily the same
ones that employ engineers (design focus)--yes I know there are lots of
engineer-programmers and overlap between the two functions, but having
worked for/with both types of folks, I think it is fair to say that
there is a difference. Further, as a tech writer, I usually find the
engineers easier to work with because they usually understand the need
for documentation and the overall R&D process whereas the programmer
usually just wants to be left alone to hack code.
There's my broad generalizations for the day. Flame away!