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What makes one developer better than another?



Shouldn’t we all be performing at the same level? Of course not, we’re not sewing buttons on an assembly line. We’re using every bit of our intelligence to create something that we can only begin to understand.

    * I think logically. Computers don’t care how you feel, and your opinion doesn’t matter. All that matters is if you write your code exactly the way the computer dictates.
    * I constantly look for better ways of doing things. I subscribe to a good number of development blogs. I alone cannot always come up with the best way to solve a problem, but somebody somewhere probably can.
    * I read books. Joel says that most programmers have stopped reading books. What a shame. Blogs are great for snippets, but it’s rare that they cover a topic well from start to finish. Blogs are the ADD version of books.
    * I don’t stop thinking about problems and how to solve them through automation. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, and I can’t get back to sleep until I write some code that I can’t get out of my head.
    * I have side projects that I think are interesting, and give me a chance to try things that I might not want to try on my production code at work. Yes, my side projects distract me at work, but the knowledge I gain pays back the time I lost.
    * I have a tech blog. I suggest all developers start a blog and give back to the community. If you solve a problem, we want to hear about it! At the very least, it will give you an opportunity to formalize your ideas, which will either reinforce them, or make you realize you were wrong. You might also get some great feedback.
    * I try to prove myself wrong (aka objective). Everyone wants to be right. I try to prove myself wrong when appropriate. One of the hardest things in the world for a developer to do is say that the code they just spent a week writing is useless. Maybe it is, don’t fight it, work with it.
    * I keep up with the latest technologies, and force myself to try them.
    * I have a relatively good understanding of how the computer hardware and software works. I’ve met too many developers that barely know how to turn on a computer.
    * I’m great at writing Google queries.
    * I’m not just in it for the money. I actually enjoy what I do. I had a job interview where the guy that would have been my boss told me a story about how he was brought in off the street and thrown into managing their software projects. When the software industry starts getting rough, who do you think is the first person to go?
    * I’m sympathetic to the users pain. If I can share their pain, I’ll want to fix it and prevent it.
    * I realize my code will never be perfect, so I try to make it testable and modular. I set up processes that try to minimize the effect of my human error.
    * I don’t think Microsoft is evil, and I don’t think they’re a saint. They’re a big company. Some of the stuff they write is crap, some is amazing. The same is true for any other company out there.
    * I learn from my mistakes. I try to put at least 2 checks in place to avoid any past mistakes. If one check fails, I’ll have the other.
    * When I’m asked to solve a problem, I think above the problem, and determine if it’s a problem that even needs solved.

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