Ask a few dozen people who have the same job as me how they classify their job and you'll get a wide variety of answers: it's a science, it's an art, it's engineering, it's applied mathematics, and so on. I've known this for a while, but what I've realized is that it's something that is probably nearly universal across careers. People want to classify their job in a way that makes them feel more special, or that makes their job sound like something that they'd rather do than what they're actually doing. Fast food cooks want to call themselves "burger artists" or something like that. Secretaries want to call themselves "administrative professionals." And depending on my mood, I want to call myself a "scientist" or an "engineer" or an "architect" or an "artist."
Certainly my career as a code monkey has aspects of all of those things. I form hypotheses, prove and disprove them through experimentation, and work with theoretical subjects, so I'm a scientist. I design things to be organized yet functional, so I'm an architect. I design things to be beautiful and elegant, in that sort of way that only people of the same career path as you understand and everyone else thinks you're insane, like when a motorcycle enthusiast says how "beautiful" their bike's engine sounds, while everyone else plugs their ears. So I'm an artist too. Sometimes I get to be really creative, and I feel like an artist. And sometimes I have to do tedious, methodical crap. Really, I think that sometimes I'm just jealous of some of those people.
To me, it's easier to accept that artists are doing something I can't do. Everyone knows how to draw. Everyone has tried to draw. Most people aren't good at it. Many people are not that good at it even after a lot of practice. There's an obvious element of talent, combined with a universal famliarity with the task, and that makes it easy for me to comprehend that pencil-and-pen graphic artists are people who have a very specific talent that I don't have. My talents simply do not include creating beautiful things with a a pencil. I don't feel that, even given unlimited time, I would be good enough at it. In contrast, I often feel that given unlimited time, nearly anyone could learn to do what I do. It might take them decades, and even after that time they might not be very fast at it and they might make more mistakes, but they could build software. It wouldn't have that artistic touch and innate skill that I (like to think that I) have, but they could produce software that would basically do what they wanted. I think that's the difference that sometimes irks me. Poorly-produced software that took a very long time to build by someone who was not talented at it would still do roughly what it was meant to. But visual artwork produced by someone without the talent doesn't serve its purposes to delight the senses and provoke the mind and soul. As much artistry as there is in building software, there's still that utilitarian aspect of things that separates it from painting watercolors or sculpting statues.