Why Do Programmers Do What They Do?

An Honours Project - Aaron Pang

About Me

I am an Honours student studying a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in Software Engineering at Victoria University of Wellington. This website is to provide information about my Honours project - "Why Do Programmers Do What They Do?". It focuses on using qualitative data gathering and analysis to determine why programmers may opt to use static or dynamic languages for projects.

The Problem

The problem that this project will attempt to solve is that of why programmers use dynamic languages over static ones. Despite evidence showcasing that static languages offer greater stability and development speed, programmers make the conscious choice of utilising dynamic languages over static counterparts. This feeds into the greater problem of failing to understand why programmers make the choices that they do. Without this knowledge, it is difficult to identify practical trends and improvements that can be made in the field. The aim of the project is to implement investigative techniques such as observation, interviews, surveys and monitoring to identify the rationale behind the decisions of programmers. By solving this problem, we will gain a better insight into why programmers make certain decisions and be able to identify trends and recurring factors within the field of programming. We will also showcase the strengths and weaknesses of dynamic and static languages, showcasing why dynamic languages have grown in use over recent years. This information can be used to see where improvements can be made in projects and development, as well as identify where and when programmers may use a certain language to overcome problems.

The Process

The process that I will be following is through using Grounded Theory as a framework. This will involve interviewing a large number of candidates involved in software development and asking them about previous projects they have worked on, the languages used and why they were selected along with whether or not the choice of language had an impact.

How Can You Help?

I require participants to interview in order to gain a significant amount of transcribable data that will allow me to form a theory around my findings. If you are interested, please contact me at either:

Email: pangaaro@myvuw.ac.nz

Mobile: 022 6942057

Supervisors

Professor James Noble
Email: kjx@ecs.vuw.ac.nz

Dr. Craig Anslow
Email: craig.anslow@ecs.vuw.ac.nz