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:

      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:

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.