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Rather, you're using problem solving tricks in real life. If anything, programming often gives a good vocabulary for problem solving* , especially if you're not a mathematician, but it's not exactly the same. Programming works similar mental muscles, but can also encumber problems with meaningless details.

(Also, be wary of "be strict in what you send but forgiving in what you receive", it gets you web "standards". :) )

* No small thing, see e.g. Iverson's "Notation as a tool of thought". Having a good vocabulary for a problem is a great aid to brainstorming. The most recent wave of people discovering this have been buzzing about "DSLs". Before that, "little languages". Before that, I don't know.

You frequently see reference to "an algebra" or "a calculus" of something or the other :)

I used to work as sysadmin in a research institute. the language difference between researchers who program, vs your typical coder in a software shop was interesting. the researchers were in the habit of referring to "a code". to a programmer, its either "code" or "a piece of code", but never "a code". that would be like saying "a software". when I hear "a code", I think of "an error correcting code".

Yes, that usage ("a code", meaning a program) is actually quite old in the numerical modelling community -- I heard it in the early 1970s, and I think it's older than that.

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