re: We're Stephanie Hurlburt and Rich Geldreich, ask us anything! VIEW POST


How does one know if they're a good developer or not?


I don't really like the notion of "good developer," first of all. What's a "good artist," for example? Everyone is going to have different opinions on what that means. It's a very multifaceted thing. You can be a good developer in so many ways, and not everyone will ever agree you're a good developer but some will think you're awesome.

So I just wouldn't worry about that. I'd focus on: Are you able to build things? Is your code doing things? Is it achieving the goals? Then, that's all that's really required!

More advanced questions to ask: Is your code easy to maintain over time? Is it easy for other people to read? Does it perform well? Do you have a good base of knowledge built up that makes it easier for you to solve a problem quicker?

I think anyone can be a good developer, and there are many different ways to be good, and you don't even need to have a good answer to all the advanced questions to be amazing at your job.

Go forth and don't be discouraging of yourself. :) I'd recommend building up a network of friendly developers you trust-- doesn't have to be at work!-- to get feedback on your code. You can do it!


I've been fired a few times so my confidence isn't the best. :( Heh

Hope you don't mind me stepping in to offer some thoughts:

Try to think of your career as reasonably "stateless" as long as you haven't burned too many bridges or developed a reputation that follows you. Stateless meaning the new situation doesn't really have a lot of insight into the old situation. You see your career as one continuous line, but the next employer really just sees you now. So if you've had issues with an old situation, the new one is really a completely new opportunity.

You're also measuring with a reasonably fixed barrier of quality. It's not a race where you have to outrun the "quality" bar. That bar might shift a bit, but for the most part once you're over the hump, you are in a pretty good place. I'm not the best developer, but I'm good enough to be "safe" more or less. Whether that's "enough" is a different question but really about your own interests. If you're not quite to the "safely good at enough at programming stage" yet, you're certainly approaching it if it's even a question.

Society puts a lot of emphasis on "greatness". From what I've read, I couldn't get a job at Google as an engineer. Maybe I could if I really wanted to more than anything else, but as it stands, I'd probably fail the tests. And I'm pretty okay with that, I have a good setup right now.

I think you've got this John. Hope this was a useful line of thought.

Thanks, Ben. I guess I'm just discouraged because I've been looking for months and had loads of interviews but no offers. And I've taken loads of tests so I can prove what I know. it's just, I hate the competition of the whole thing. And I hate the lack of empathy companies seem to have. gassho.

"I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." -- Albert Camus

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