Is computer profession a profession?

I love food and preparation of food, e.g. cooking, so naturally I like the Food Network channel on the cable TV. But I never seem to be able to watch much as Leah’s TV schedule doesn’t leave me with much time for ‘my TVs’. Unsurprisingly I have been gorging on Food Network for the last few days! Emeril Live (whom Leah has nicknamed ‘Greasy Gnome’), Boy Meets Grill, and Iron Chef America to name just a few.

Of course one thing in common is that all these shows have a fully kit-out kitchen, and this got me thinking. Why is it Ok for other professionals such as chef, painter, writer, musicians, etc. to have they tools of trade in their house and get appreciated comments from friends and family, while computer professionals like myself get the ‘wasteful’, ‘excessive’ looks when friends and family discover I have more than one computer?

Why is it Ok (or in fact encouraged) for chef, or painter, or whoever, to practice their trade in their own home, e.g. cook for their friends, paint a picture for special occasion, etc., while it is considered anti-social, nerdy, for computer professionals like myself to spend my leisure time on the computer/internet? More puzzling is that if my time spent on the computer is for something creative, let’s say working on digital photos verses developing my own application, that’s considered time worth spending. Why is it not Ok for me to have multiple computers when others can have multiple ovens, cooking pans, knives, paint brushes, etc.?

Is this because computer industry is still very young and the majority of the population still does not consider computer job as a profession? Or is it because the work we do is so complex and nebulous in compare to others (like cooking) that most people does not, and will not try to, understand what we do and thus do not value our work?

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