Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

best programmers??

is there a company that has the best programmers? or are they like scattered around?? and, what makes a programmer superior to another?? experience, or just the ability to write quick code??

Im learning c, it's not as bad as i've heard, but i wanna like learn good programming techniques.

Monday, June 30, 2003

C and C++ are not that bad to program with; what makes them terrible is when you have to read or modify other people's code.  Bad programmers or "overly smart" programmers will write unmaintainable code in any language, but C and C++ seem to magnify the damage that those programmers do, such as when they abuse operator overloading and preprocessor macros.  Not to mention the manipulation of pointers to pointers to pointers to pointers.

T. Norman
Monday, June 30, 2003

Monday, June 30, 2003

P.S.  You think I'm joking.  I'm not.

Monday, June 30, 2003

That's funny. Yes, we are all equal except for our inequalities.

Tom Vu
Monday, June 30, 2003

Tom Vu,

Thanks for your wonderful contribution.  It was so superb that I'm not even going to argue with you.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Ah yes! We all love it when a spacker is the butt of a joke! Hahahaha!

But to return to your original point. It is true that there is more of a time component to programming than many would think. As anyone with RSI will attest, there is a physical stamina component to it as well. And yes, it is true that a lot of programming requires patience.

This is obviously somewhat contrary to the image of programming as a rarified, purely intellectual pursuit.

And therefore someone who is patient, has lots of time and doesn't have RSI could overtake someone who is more naturally gifted but doesn't have any of these attributes.

Well, guess what -- that's true for anything. It makes _no_ _sense_ to remove these attributes from an assessment of someone's skills. They are part and parcel of it. If you are impatient, you might potentially be some kind of programming mozart _but noone will find out_ because you aren't patient enough to get anything done. Patience and stamina are part of being a good programmer; if you don't have both, you'll never become very good. Even if you don't need patience and stamina to cope with your own perfect code, that is turned out defect free and on time, there is always other people's to consider.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

>> is there a company that has the best programmers? or are they like scattered around??

I find it incredibly irritating that people go around expecting to find commercial la-la lands where the concentration of noble and morally superior intellects is far greater than other places. Get a life and a grip.

I also find it incredibly grating that some companies internally consider themselves unprofessional hack shops - the false humility stuff then becomes a self fulfilling prophesy and the people with self esteem leave.

Sorry to be so mean spirited but people aren't great nor do they suck simply because they wind up working within a particular organization. It is highly probable that a Bjarne Stroustroup or a Linus Torvalds would not be satisfied working in some dingy little vertical market software company whose owners think more like end users than technology experts. But it's not inconceivable that one or two excellent developers would have managed to cocoon themselves into decent roles in such places. 

The point is, some excellence can rub off on people, but individual excellence is largely a matter of self determination, no matter what field you're in.

>>and, what makes a programmer superior to another?? experience, or just the ability to write quick code??

Dude, LISTEN TO THE POST FROM "Tom". He makes excellent points about the qualities of effective developers.

"Sharp" developers that lack discipline or follow-through have always been a dime a dozen.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

It's true there are exceptions but the general rule is that talent comes in clusters. Not random clustering but clustering with a reason. A talented contributor who is part of a team will always want to work with other talented contributors. He might be stuck in a hell-hole full of idiots temporarily, but will likely move on when opportunity presents itself to a place where his talents can be put to good use.

There is also self-policing. Good teams don't let bozos in. If bozos do appear, they are put out of the loop after screwing things up one too many times.

AT&T for example was a great place to be a developer 30 years ago -- you worked with some really fine people. 20 years ago, MIT was a good place to be. 10 years ago, Microsoft.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home