re: Why being a good programmer barely requires programming at all. VIEW POST

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re: "the stuff that 90% of us will be doing won’t require any revolutionary coding expertise" -- sure. But we're not talking about revolutionary progra...
 

Ya, maybe you'd want that surgeon - until you realize that despite his brilliance with a scalpel, none of the supporting people around him are top of their field, because he's pushed them all away. His requests for his peers opinions take longer to get answered, the best assistants can't stand him and have slowly migrated away and because of his open sexism, he's been unable to collaborate with the best of his field on new techniques - his high skill is limited by his other interpersonal skills and likely he suffers from Dunning Krueger because of this, thus he seems convincingly confident in his methods, yet doesn't even know that his technique is actually outdated and a less invasive surgery could be done. Instead of a tiny incision point, you walk away with several massive scars because he executed the old technique, perfectly.

Sure, plenty of a-holes have created great value in the world, but as our culture advances, it tends to be those with amazing hard skills and soft skills that have the largest reach and create the most impactful contributions.

I look at the top devs and program managers that I see speaking and interacting in community standups, etc and what I notice is that combination of technical prowess and interpersonal ease - one without the other has limitations, but people who start out good at social patterns, seem to have an easier time maintaining an enriched environment of peers, which has a multiplier effect on their capacity to learn and grow.

To your example about 50 transformations, my counter example is that a good coder may code it 'well enough', but believe they coded it perfectly and waste a lot of time and energy when their peers try to help them make it better, bitterly and pedantically holding on to any technical point they can make, instead of embracing their own continual improvement - their ego defeats them. On the other hand, if their code is wonderful and correct, but they can't communicate that to others, then the value of the contribution goes down - the knowledge dies with them, so to speak, instead of rippling out, memetically. Good ideas require great advocates to be truly effective.

Finally, there are only so many of the type of person you speak of, they have only so many keystrokes in their lifetimes and there's increasingly more code to write - if your only input to those who aren't 'as good as you' at writing code is that they shouldn't, so 'be gone with ya', then you create a divisive process not a multiplicative one - instead of inspiration you create desperation. Code that can solve a problem but could be better at solving it is better than no code to solve the problem at all. It would seem that the 'too many' devs you know gain nothing from knowing you because you haven't effectively, inspirationally transferred that knowledge. Blind superiority is a social anti-pattern, one that our culture is slowly refactoring out.

 

Um, thanks for the comment. I'm guessing that means you agree with me then? Right?

Well, ya I agree with you :) I'm advocating pretty heavily for soft skills being an important hard skill multiplier and noting that soft skills make gaps in hard skills easier to fill - collaboratively. I think Pavel is leaving a lot of potential on the table by devaluing those social skills and I tried to provide examples to demonstrate why.

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