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What class of programmer are you?

27. October 2008 12:29 by Scott in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (2)

"People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

What kind of programmer are you? In today's world of programming, the average programmer does not sit on the bleeding edge nor do they sit on the back burner waiting for the coils to get hot enough to jump ship.  You have to change and evolve.  You have to keep moving forward.

Programmers generally move forward to a new product every few years, but also sit complacent when they don't feel threatened.  Like one of the Militaries favorite quotes, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it." The military is a reactionary force along with the average programmer.  The programmer that moves ahead in the world is not the average programmer.  They are a programmer who moves forward, who thrives for the best.  Who sees a problem and fixes it.  They do not wait for the problem to come about and then go about fixing it.  They are ahead of the crowd, the first kind of programmers are your Bill Gates, Steve Wozniaks, Scott Guthries, Paul Allens, Steve Capps, Justin Frankels and Jarkko Oikarinens. The first type of programmer wants to innovate, move around and make things that help humanity.  These are the programmers I look up to.  As of recently these types of programmers have gone into hiding at Microsoft, but not Google or Apple.  Why is it that most of Microsoft's programmers (Microsoft employees) fit into the second class of people.  These days, Google is the innovator.  Google's employees fit into the first class of people.  They are now the company to beat in the programming world.  They are the ones that everyone else is trying to play catch up with. Microsoft has lost a lot of its innovative programmers and they have moved to Google or decided to venture into their own startups.

If Microsoft wants to compete in Google's world, it has to accomplish a few great things. The first thing to do would see how Google works.  See what they do to make great software.  If Microsoft fails at this, they will not be a company in the next twenty years. Microsoft has to go back to the basics.

"Competition always creates an environment for innovation."

Microsoft tried to compete with Google over two years ago today.  They started a service that could have created such a competitive environment, but they fell complacent. Therefore they fit in the second class of programmer. 

What was this service? Live Labs. Google has launched over 30 innovative products from their labs, so why has Microsoft launched only six in the passed two years?  Microsoft has become complacent. This post is not to slam Microsoft on their shortcomings.  It gives you a difference between what the first class of programmer looks like compared to the second class.  Microsoft is neck deep in the second class of programmers with only a few truly innovating, while Google is up to its knees in the second class of programmers.

I would like to hope since your reading this, that you are not falling complacent.  That you have an innovative environment around you.  That you are pushing the thresh hold of your very fabric. I hope that you are not like Live Labs, but actually like Google Labs. Always creating, always innovating. The average programmer sticks with Live Labs, but the first class programmer is Google Labs. Be Google Labs. Become better than you are.

Microsoft launches its Google Labs - Here is an article from January 06 that had hopes of Live Labs competing with Google Labs.  Microsoft wonders why people are flocking towards Google.

"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." - Franklin D. Roosevelt - 1932

Don't just stand there.  Go ahead and do something! The world is waiting for you to experiment. Be the first class of programmer!

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Comments (2) -

10/27/2008 5:08:36 PM #

Right on!

My favorite thing about programming is that there are virtually no barriers to creating something new.  All you need is a computer, some free time, and an idea that wants to come out.

There is a difference between programmers and those who program for a living, one which it took me a while to see.  When I was younger I thought all my coworkers went home and built stuff too, but they usually don't.  Which isn't bad, it's just different.  We all have different things we want out of life and for most people those things aren't technical in nature:  Families, kids, houses, cars, traveling, whatever.

If you are a programmer you just need to find more people like yourself to keep you honest and teach you things.  It takes some more work but it's very rewarding.

Cobus Bezuidenhout
Cobus Bezuidenhout
10/28/2008 1:00:09 AM #

Being complacent is a dangerous thing. It's only when the water starts boiling around you that you notice, and by then you are 'cooked meat'.

It's sometimes difficult being a first class programmer in an environment where your colleagues are just there to make a living! The World Wide Web is a wonderful thing and keeps me exited, informed and motivated to keep on exploring!

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