Programming managers have long recognized wide productivity variations between good programmers and poor ones. But the actual measured magnitudes have astounded all of us. In one of their studies, Sackman, Erickson, and Grant were measuring performance of a group of experienced programmers. Within just this group the ratios between the best and worst performances averaged about 10:1 on productivity measurements and an amazing 5:1 on program speed and space measurements!
The best programmers are up to 28 times better than the worst programmers, according to “individual differences” research. Given that their pay is never commensurate, they are the
biggest bargains in the software field.
Where would Zuckerberg be if he didn't have the Winklevosses to rip off?
Oh sure, there is an argument to be made that having a star programmer is a long term detriment to an organization. A company that is to survive cannot rely on one, or a few people. Also, a star programmer in a team is like a giant tree, they block the light from shining on those around them. A tree growing next to a giant oak will not thrive until the oak is cut down and it can receive light.
I could maybe see the 100:1 rule applying to problem solving, but modern software development is much more about tying together frameworks and organizing cohesive effort.
He picks some marketably contrarian claim, simplifies the arguments in favor of it and ignores the arguments against it.
This thread is getting kind of painful. I strongly suspect I'm one of those mediocre programmers.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:02 AM
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