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Above Average Programmer?

Here is an interesting article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/psp7761121.html

Source: Chris Sells > Surana > article

Prakash S
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

This thread rings a bell; we are all above average programmers, just like we are above average drivers. Until proven an underachiever Im an above average guy :-)

Patrik
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I've seen that study linked on here a few times, and perhaps I'm being cynical but I see a study like that as being the incompetent programmer's best friend: Some hotshot on your team responsible for most of the design and implementation? Pull out this and assure yourself that he's just thinking he's better than the rest.

In any case, the people who inhabit online programming boards are generally among the upper half of programmers, as there is a very large contingent of "career programmers" who go in and type in lines from 9-5, with little concern about the advanced concepts.

Jimmy Chonga
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Without reading the article, it seems fairly obvious why we all think we're above average.  (1)  The more you learn, the more you learn how much you have to learn.  Hence if you're way below average, you're not aware of it yet.  (2)  In this job market, even among those developers learned enough to know how far below average they are, who will admit to it?  Especially knowing that developers at a level far below you are calling themselves above average?

Kyralessa
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Ignorance is bliss.

John Ridout
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Make products, make them work, have them sold.

Then you can forget about being average or not, you are successful or not.

Enhance your practice and try to do it honestly.

Phil
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

"The more you learn, the more you learn how much you have to learn.  Hence if you're way below average, you're not aware of it yet. "

I think this is a bit of false logic.

As you learn, you learn how much knowledge you need, within a particular domain or problem set, in order to be an accomplished specialist. As you start to fill in the gap between stuff-I-need-to-know and stuff-I-already-know, you become aware that you're becoming above average in that field.

I don't think advanced knowledge necessarily implies arrogance. I think it's possible for someone to have lots and lots of knowledge about something, and know that they have a special expertice, without having to cower down in humility at the vast scope of the universe.

I don't happen to be one of those people. I know a handful of stuff in lots of problem domains, but I have little expertice in any of them. But I'm still very much in the first half of my career, and I hope to become a guru of something or another.

Benji Smith
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Woops. I misinterpreted that last quote before I responded to it.

What I thought it said was something to the effect of:

"The more you learn, the more you know you need to learn. So really knowledgable people are unaware of their own proficiency."

I actually largely agree with the logic of the original post that I criticized.

Benji Smith
Thursday, March 20, 2003

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