Are Great Application Developers Making A Comeback?

"I don't want 10 developers. I want 3 great ones", is what a client told me when I asked him how his company was responding to the economic crisis. Of course, I think this is good advice even in good times and I think we have gotten away from this is recent years. Why? I think there are couple of reasons:

  1. Outsourcing changed the focus from finding great developers to hiring large numbers of developers.
  2. Project managers and business analysts worked their darndest to separate developers from the business problems that develoeprs need to solve. Agile has mitigated this a bit, but treating developers like machines on an assembly has been in fashion for years now.
  3. There are fewer great developers because back in the day people passionate about software development gravitated towards a career in application development. Now it is a career choice for many and percentage of great developers has been diluted and thus they are harder to find.

I am asking every application development professional I talk to, including you, the following questions:

  1. Compared to 5 years ago, is application development less difficult, same level of difficulty, or more difficult?
  2. What qualities make a great application developer?
  3. What is an example of a great developer in action?

Please let me know your answers. Thanks. Mike.

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Comments

re: Are Great Application Developers Making A Comeback?

Hi Mike, I could not agree more. Most developers do just coding. It is one of the reasons why the outsourcing of serious programming to India or China is nonsense. Creating the models and writing the necessary pseudocode is too much effort. We do work in the meantime with some Indian outsourcers but we use them for Ajax only.A great developer is an analyst programmer who can work in a team of two or three independently completing a work unit from the project plan. Or he/she is a systems programmer who fully understand OS or networking issues and has a lot of experience with development tools and libraries to support and guide application developer teams.Why, because most development work is like having a baby. You can't put nine women on the task to complete it in one month.In my mind programming to solve a business problem is not going anywhere, because the biggest problem is not creating the code, it is MAINTAINING it! Therefore we should not use the word AGILE in connection to programming!

re: Are Great Application Developers Making A Comeback?

Hi Max, LOL on the "baby" analogy. I agree with you on the small teams. And, the agile word is growing very tiresome. Many people say they are "agile" because to be the opposite of agile is, well, to be sluggish.