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What Makes A "Rockstar Programmer"?

Discussion in 'General Programming Chat' started by TechnoPhobe, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. TechnoPhobe

    TechnoPhobe Newbie

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    What separates the average programmers (average $) from the superstar programmers (six figure $ + awesome benefits, working for big tech companies) ?

    How long does it take to get to that level of superstar programming if you are a newbie?

    Personal note on me: I've just hit 20 years of age & I am interested in programming to create software as "software is eating the world".

    What are your thoughts on the topic?
     
  2. BuildMoreLinks

    BuildMoreLinks Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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  3. healzer

    healzer Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    It depends; an entrepreneurial programmer or a skilled monkey behind a desk?
     
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  4. theMagicNumber

    theMagicNumber Regular Member

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    Another 9-5 slave was born today.
    Graduate from a "good" university, find a job at a "big tech" company and get back here in 5-6 years to complain about your life.

    Well, at least this is better than "sir, how do i make $10 per day?" mindset.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  5. Trepanated

    Trepanated Supreme Member

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    You missed the rockstar category out.

    Average programmer (average $) - anyone and everyone who gets a programming job
    Superstar programmer (six figure $) - anyone who gets a job, works hard and keeps getting promoted or finding better jobs

    ROCKSTAR programmer - doesn't have a job. Works on his own projects. Combines his programming skills with his original ideas. Never gives up. Learns from every failure. Eventually builds something that lots of people want.
     
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  6. jazzc

    jazzc Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Whenever you see "Rockstar" & "Ninja" programmer in a job description, you can tell that the hiring company is a technologically mediocre one. That 's because these are hype buzzwords they think are in style and will make them look like a cool employer to work for.

    Now, to answer your question.

    An average programmer is just that - usually a 9-5 guy who gets some things done. His problem solving skills are average at best and he can't solve complex problems efficiently (if at all). He 's not trying to be on the edge of his trade - he learned something 5 years ago, that 's what he still uses. His code is usually a mess and the phrase "best practices" means nothing to him. He needs instructions to work and he will use any shortcut he can, hoping that no one will tell him to implement it better. Usually referred to as a "code-monkey" by his employer when he 's not around.

    A great programmer is an efficient problem solver. This is the core of it and everything else follows from that. To be a problem solver, he needs to be able to make decisions. To make the proper decisions he must be on the top of his trade - so he gets there. Deep AND wide knowledge is the natural outcome from that. His code is efficient, extensible and generally a work others envy. He is more of an architect than a builder. He is proud of his work and usually a perfectionist.

    How long does it take? If you have what it takes, it can still be a long road ahead. If you don't, you simply never become one. Now, let me be crystal clear - that 's not to say that you won't be able to find a high position if you 're an average programmer - quite the contrary. There is such a huge demand in our field that a ton of average programmers (and sometimes even worthless ones) hold highly paid positions. In this case it 's a matter of connections and luck.
     
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  7. healzer

    healzer Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Now that was one piece of solid advice!
     
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  8. pentatonicfunk

    pentatonicfunk Registered Member

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    a Rockstar Programmer is not about how much $$$$ , there are many Good Programmers that not make much $$$, but they spend their time on research. So if it's all about $$$, it's depend on your marketing skill. Just like other people say, you can sell empty page with Good Price as long you convince people that you are selling golden page
     
  9. brownbeagle

    brownbeagle Newbie

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    To answer your question, I reckon that great coders have life and code experience. I know some "great" programmers that many look up to but they lack the life experience and it shows in their tech decisions. I didn't hit my stride until I was over 25 years old. I was smashing away after hours and weekends from 20'ish years of age onwards. Your milage may vary.

    Now my rant...

    The great coders that I know are the guys that constantly build their own stuff in their spare time. Job opportunities come relatively easily and they're good at what they do. The problem with that route is that you have to eat/breathe/sleep code. It's great fun if that's your thing, but eventually you'll get married, have kids, and discover that the outdoors can be great fun. That's cool though, because by then you'll have developed mild RSI, become jaded with the industry, and discovered that your career was a load of rubbish anyway.

    I agree with the other posters. Make the dosh to cover your bills but build your own stuff. Build things that will continue to work for you 10 years from now. Whether it's the actual software you're still using, some offshoot, or the lessons you learned. I can hire great coders on outsourcing websites for a fraction (10% let's say) the price of a rockstar programmer. You don't build value through code, you build value by solving problems that happen to need code.

    Good luck!
     
  10. rootjazz

    rootjazz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Joking aside, most companies don't want rock star programmers, they are too high maintenance, think too highly of themselves, want to be centre stage, don't work well as a team, don't want to follow rules etc etc

    Most companies want programmers who can get shit done, on time and on budget. 99% of programming jobs are not about being cutting edge, are not about creating something revolutionary but getting shit done on time and on budget.

    If you want to be a rockstar, go solo, run your own business. Take all the highs (and all the lows)
     
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  11. Panther28

    Panther28 Elite Member

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    i would say rock solid error handling mindset.
     
  12. JONNY8

    JONNY8 Newbie

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    dont think like an average programmer
     
  13. TehEpidemick

    TehEpidemick BANNED BANNED

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    You know what separates the rockstar programmers from the average programmers? Tons and tons of mistakes. Debugging is 50% of code development :)
     
  14. zohar

    zohar Newbie

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    Simple.. a rockstar programmer is a guy with a huge ego and who can code in assembly language and machine code like he's playing ping-pong on a Atari.
    I think a real life example of one is that dude from Id software the single handedly coded the Quake engine.