As you already stated, a computer does not think -- therefore (being pedantic), a computer programmer can't think like a computer. What a programmer can do is understand how a computer will most likely do a task, and fit the solution to that process.
A couple of people have called me on this one. I chose 'think like a computer' because it sounds better than 'has learned to simulate a computing machine mentally.'
There's no "most likely" about it, though. A human can work out exactly what a computer will do for a given sequence of input, and should do so frequently. Maybe it would be better to say, a programmer is a human who can build (and run) a virtual computer in their mind.
And I don't deny the need for creative human activities in programming at all.. mentally simulating a virtual computer is hard work. Imagine the physical effort of trying to move a welding torch in exactly the same path a robot would use.. no bumps, no jiggles, no wavering speeds. After half an hour of that, any human would want to go out and shoot hoops for a while.
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