The routinization of computer programming

  • Philip Kraft
Part of the Heidelberg Science Library book series (HSL)


What is most remarkable about the work programmers do is how quickly it has been transformed. Barely a generation after its inception, programming is no longer the complex work of creative and perhaps even eccentric people. Instead, divided and routinized, it has become mass-production work parcelled out to interchangeable detail workers. Some software specialists still engage in intellectually demanding and rewarding work—people who are called by such names as systems engineers, analysts, or simply software scientists—but they make up a relatively small and diminishing proportion of the total programming workforce. The great and growing mass of people called programmers (as well as those who do software work but for a variety of reasons are called something else) do work which is less and less distinguishable from that of clerks or, for that matter, assembly line workers.


Skilled Worker White Collar Programming Work Detail Worker Software Worker 
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  1. Braverman, Harry. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (1974). New York and London: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag, New York Inc. 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Kraft
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA

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