July 21, 2003
The Ideal Programmer

Bruce Eckel, The Ideal Programmer.

An interesting, if unfocused, semi-rant about the poor quality of the average coder.

Some interesting numbers: 5% of the programmers are 20 times more productive than the other 95%. The majority (probably that other 95%) of programmers don't read books on programming. Now, I'd love to take this at face value - after all, I read a lot of books on programming. But most books probably don't make people into better programmers, just better informed programmers. In fact, it's often the complete opposite. The code examples in most tech books irritate me greatly, for example - they get across the narrow technical point that they are attempting to illustrate, but apart from that, they are often good examples of how not to code.

There are, however, a very few books which can make one a better programmer, I think. Code Complete and The Pragmatic Programmer, for example, should be mandatory reading for anyone who makes a living cutting code. Other good examples might be the GoF book, or Bitter Java.

How many people in our profession really love what they do? Not many - 95% (the same 95% again?) are in it for the cash - indoor work, with no heavy lifting. There do exist, though, programmers who do not love what they do, but do nevertheless approach it in a professional manner. I know - I work with some of them. But the couldn't-care-less brigade are always present, too...

Posted to Software development by Simon Brunning at July 21, 2003 11:42 AM
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