Sun 2 Dec 2007
Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror recently talked about two types of programmers (triggered by Ben Collins-Sussman’s source control comments). The top 20% which are interested in professional development, and the remaining 80% which are more like 9-5 clock workers, and are not doing the magazines/blogs/conferences thing. As Jeff clarified, here’s not dissing the 80%, just pointing out that they are unreachable by conventional means.
By Jeff’s definition, I’m one of the Alpha 20% programmer by virtue of the fact that I’m a compulsive book buyer and avid blog reader. Maybe I’m just feeling insecure today, but I don’t feel like a top 20% guy. Let’s look at
the competition who else would be in here:
Jeff Atwood himself…come on, he averaged more than 1 post per day over the last 4 years…
- Larry O’Brien, who is creating a new language (called Rinq).
- Scott Hanselman, blogger extraordinaire who does the 3 most stress inducing things known to man at the same time.
- Joel Spolsky (and any of his crew)…yes, he traded in his design chops for business ones…but anyone launching his own MBA program is a top 20%. Beside, anybody that goes through his ringer of a hiring process is top 1% material.
- Anyone at Object Mentor (Bob, Jr., …)
- All the deep thinkers out there who write about methodologies while bringing home the bacon (Kent Beck, Mike Cohn, etc…)
- All the technical authors who end up being paid a pittance for books with a limited audience.
You will notice that all of the above, by virtue of their writing, could be classified as “communicators”. Clearly the exception when it comes to the programming & engineering world. But what about the “silent majority”, who are not so talkative:
Rick Brewster of Paint.NET
Miguel de Icaza of Mono fame
The 37signals crew (Ruby On Rails anyone?)
all those college kids pumped on caffeine who do incredible things: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg (regardless of whether he is snotty or not) and others.
Dang! They all seem to have blogs…maybe that’s the new 20%, you have to have a blog?
With all those Alpha programmers out there, I can’t help but feel intimidated. Maybe I’m just at the shallow end of the deep pool.
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