From Wages or Shortage, this comment
""" A-grade engineers are unfortunately similar to Welsh longbowmen: devastatingly potent compared to their peers, but you have to start their training at age 10 or so. Simply upping the salaries of A-grade engineers won't magically create more of them. We know this, as we tried exactly that experiment in the boom." """
and this comment
""" ... the notion of "best practices" is widely misunderstood in IT. It is not organizational best practices that most improve the output, it's best engineering practices. And those are accepted first by the "rockstar" types and least understood, why, most often resisted, by the management and subsistence engineers. Where do you think that 10-20x gap comes from, lightning-fast typing skill? ;-) """
and this one
""" ... such practices often fall victim to the hero mentality that is the odious legacy of the dot-com boom. It basically says that for a tech company to do well, it has to find some rockstars, clear the decks for them, and sell the gold that trickles out of their foosball-table equipped office. It fosters a warlike mentality in the workplace and sacrifices long term growth for short term market share. It also happily sacrifices a vast middle ground of engineers who would improve and be profitably productive with a positive environment and some solid mentoring so it can lavish luxury on the super-productive who may not, as Dave seems to concede, necessarily add business value. Contrary to Dave's assertions, I've also seen good engineers get better in such an environment. """
all ring true.
Posted by Monkey on 2008-04-02 at 00:38.
Hey, yeah, some people can just do things better. Not saying I'm one of them :) It's like the old "100 monkeys typing on 100 type writers for 100 years will never be able to write something as good as shakespear wrote down the pub one night when he was pissed and had a sore tooth". But maybe if shakespear was allowed to tell the monkeys what to do... with fruit bribes perhaps... then the monkeys+shakespear could do some good stuff. Like if the monkeys were given good monkey type writers, and were sent off to monkey typing class to learn how to type better. Or would the monkeys just slow shakespear down? If only shakespear could live again, and be given 100 monkeys and unlimited fruit... we could finally know the answer to this question. -Rsd.
Posted by Erich Schwarz on 2008-04-02 at 04:47.
Somehow the phrase "rockstar programmer" always makes me think of this post: <a href="http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000552.htm l">http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000552.html</a> and the one it quotes: "There is no such thing as a 'Rock Star Programmer,' so if you want to become one, you already have problems that reading a blog post can't fix. Rock stars get sex, drugs, parties, limousines, fame, glory, dates with supermodels, and Rolling Stone covers. Good programmers get ... uh ... fewer compiler errors."
Posted by Greg Wilson on 2008-04-02 at 08:48.
Ever gone looking for the evidence to back up the claim that the best programmers are X times more productive (where "X" varies from quote to quote, and "than whom" is rarely specified)?
Posted by Carl T. on 2008-04-02 at 12:19.
So there's hope for us mere mortals, and I should keep trying to learn how to implement automated tests. Cool. I was about to give up and join the French Foreign Legion.
Posted by Patrick Dubroy on 2008-04-02 at 20:34.
Steve McConnell, the author of Code Complete, recently posted about the origins of the "order of magnitude" belief: <a href="http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27 /productivity-variations-among-software-developers-and-teams-the- origin-of-quot-10x-quot.aspx">http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemc c/archive/2008/03/27/productivity-variations-among-software- developers-and-teams-the-origin-of-quot-10x-quot.aspx</a>