One of my coworkers recently shared what I found to a great read about what programmers do. Here are some sections that I liked most:

One method for maintaining stability is the maintenance programmer. The longevity of the program is therefore dependent on the capability, comprehension and intelligence of this person. But humans are not omniscient in comprehending programs. As a matter of fact one of the most intellectual endeavors is the analysis and comprehension of an existing program structure.

The ritual of programming is of great consequence because it deals with the communication between the original program author and the programmer responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the program.

A programmer does not primarily write code; rather, he primarily writes to another programmer about his problem solution. The understanding of this fact is the final step in his maturation as technician.

Source: http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Knuth_Don_X4100/PDF_index/k-9-pdf/k-9-u2769-1-Baker-What-Programmer-Does.pdf

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