“Technologist and Researcher – what is the difference between the two?” a friend quizzed me some time ago. I thought I will blog about it as this will act as a supplement of a recent post of mine.
Long ago someone gave me this interesting perspective to look at this which I find a lot useful even if it is only approximate. Every subject(using this word for the lack of a better word) can be looked as having a kind of layered structure.[ I know what you are going to say , people with CS background are obsessed layers, well one has to admit it gives some clarity of thoughts 🙂 ]
When the subjects basis/genesis is being debated or formed it is still in the philosophical realms, it is said to occupy the highest position in the layer (Philosophy).
When it is being incrementally improved/explored then it is termed as Science & Research
When it is weaven into the folklore of humanity and gets represented in abstract form and other kind of manifestation it is called Art.
When it is affecting the day to day life of common people around you it is termed as technology. Alternatively another way of definig technology could be that it sits at the intersection of science and arts.
To illustrate/support the later definition further, lets take a look at this.
We all know that it makes sense to use the word ‘Technology’ in names of institute like IIT, NIT, IIIT etc for obvious reason, they impart knowledge of science and other practical know how. But then why is that NIFT(National Institute of Fashion Technology) uses the word ‘Technology’ in it. I would argue that they are rightful in doing so , they are more from the art side, they arrive at technology from the art side of the above layer and folks from IIIT, IIT & NIT are from the science side.
The above layered way of looking at suits the field of Computer Science more than any other subjects/fields. Also interestingly this nascent field of CS is very nice & unique intersection of all the above layers that I mentioned.Thats primarily the reason that makes Computer Science so exciting and attracts the best brains around. (For Instance Electronics/Electrical Engineering does have very little if at all to be done in the philisophy layer – Faraday, Maxwell, Schockley,Kilby etc have almost solved all that has to be in philiosphy layer of these fields but in CS there is so much to be done)
Coming back to the question a researcher is someone who is furthering the philosophy and t science of the subject and a technologist is one who is trying to make use of the science(or art) for the use of common people.
I have interest & have tried to learn & do a lot about the first two layers of CS but I am currently focussed in being a technologist. About the art side , it is totally greek & latin to me. I am interested though in learning atleast the alphabets of the greek latin as it shall enable me to be a better technologist.