Many things to say here, Mark. First, you say that programming has way more artistry. Okay, there is often freedom in implementation, but the end result is fixed.
Years ago, I interviewed for a programming job at a defense company. I didn’t get it, because I wanted to prototype my solution. I was told that the only way to program was to do structured top down implementation strictly following a detailed design spec. That doesn’t sound too much like art.
I once worked for a software company that had a significant services business (a couple billion at its height). The founder and CEO of this company insisted on calling his services professionals “technicians”. I thought that was telling.
Last, today it seems like there is less programming, and more, well, assembly of existing components. Certainly it takes some effort to make the pieces fit together, but perhaps programming is no longer really the start from scratch endeavor that it was years ago.
I am not trying to denigrate programming, but I wonder if the fundamental nature of programming has changed since I first started, in 19-mumble-mumble.