“'It’s in your spinal cord, it’s in your fingertips': Practices of craft in building software." Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing, 2014.

Jessa Lingel and Tim Regan

Drawing on interviews with 12 software engineers, we investigate the relationship between developers and the tools they use to build code through the lens of craft. We analyze different conceptualizations of craft in accounts of software development, including craft as a process of building, craft as materiality, and craft as a community of practice. By working through these different facets of craft, we investigate tensions of perceiving coding work as, on the one hand, highly rational, and on the other, deeply personal and embodied. In working through these tensions of code as abstract and concrete, cerebral and intuitive, we note implications for craft, both as a theory relevant to computer human interaction, and for paradigms of education in computer science.