Very good points, I didn't, initially, think about it from this more systemic perspective. So it's a really interesting take you've put forward.
Just playing devil's advocate here, but do you really need to understand the big picture to be a competent developer?
Because what if a senior dev, or some other team member was responsible for the big picture, and gave you accurate specifications/requirements? And you pretty much just had to figure out how to implement it in the best way, or come up with a solution within strict confines.
In this sense I think it could be a really competent developer without necessarily knowing about the big picture.
Or what if you were working on a system that was simply too big/complex to understand entirely, and you could only code a small part of it?
And then, let's say, your fundamental skill for competency was understanding the big picture. If you couldn't problem solve well (for example) you might never be able to reach the end goal, anyway.
Whereas you might solve the wrong thing a few times just coding but eventually through iterations/trial and error you could achieve a sufficient outcome.
So it seems you can have some skills that are not 'big picture', and still get somewhere, whereas you you might not get anywhere with 'big picture' alone.
Obviously this is being deterministic to illustrate the point, because I'm looking to distill the most fundamental skill(s).
Having said all that, I do think 'big picture' is a very good one, and is very important.
I'm not sure of the answer, haha, this is why I started the discussion.
Well by “the big picture” I don't necessarily mean EVERYTHING. But you need to be able to look bigger than the tasks you've been assigned, for a number of reasons. Nothing is ever developed in a vacuum, not even the smallest of tasks.
Indeed, appreciate your responses Manuele 👍
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