I'm continuing with my comparison series between software development and other professions. You can read about the comparisons with building a house and lawyers. Today we go with another white collar set of professionals: doctors.
I've heard that it referred to many times that doctors "practice medicine" and that it's as much an art as a science. After all, while we are all similar biologically, there are unique differences in many of us, and so many of the diseases and other work doctors deal with are very similar so a really good doctor doesn't just play the odds, but tailors his treatments to the individual.
Software tends to be developer this way, with many small applications built as one-offs to handle a specific purpose. We often build, and re-build things ourselves, to ensure they are customized to the specific client.
Doctors often deal with the side-effects and unintended consequences of their work by patching you up, or just allowing your body to adapt to the situation, either healing itself, or you putting up with pain or some other limitation.
We have "bugs" in software, causing problems we didn't for see. Software has to be repaired, or the clients learn to live with the issues. I know I've had quite a few issues at SQLServerCentral.com in the code base that I've just dealt with. Not a lot different than some issues I've had with my body over the years.
There is one area that we don't match up well, and it's an area that I have been glad to see software differentiated. Software developers don't get sued very often where doctors live with the very real possibility of lawsuits all the time. So much so that a significant portion of their salaries are spent on insurance.
I do think that insurance will become a larger part of software development over time, but I hope it doesn't get to the point where it is in the medical profession.
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