“The looming demise of the 10× developer”


Just read a great post by Justin Searls on the Test Double blog:

The looming demise of the 10× developer [blog.testdouble.com]

I very much found myself identifying with many parts of Justin's description of himself. And I found myself nodding along to the contrast between “enthusiasts” who can't help but think about programming 24/7 and the folks who consider their programming work to be “just a job”. I've recognized that distinction myself, and have encountered a mix of people who belong to both groups in the various jobs I've had in my career. I had never thought to classify that distinction in generational terms, and had instead just thought of it as “people are different”. The generational framing, however, is a compelling one, especially in how it suggests certain open questions about our industry.

As an aside, especially as a manager, I've found it very important to set a tone and an example with my team that the enthusiast tendencies that I have, and that I see in some (but not all) others, ABSOLUTELY MUST be channeled towards non-work pursuits. I've done this somewhat implicitly, without really having thought through the ramifications of why. Reading this post has help me frame this better. Making sure that my team restricts their work programming to work hours helps ensure that enthusiasts do not find themselves at an advantage that only comes from a tendency (willingness, compulsion) to noodle on a problem long past quitting time. (Even then, I ask myself whether this would be truly effective — practicing programming on non-work projects in non-work hours ensures that I am not accruing more work impact for my next perf review than my colleagues. But it still means that I am honing my craft more than others might be. Will the on-the-jobs still feel that that puts me at an unfair advantage?)