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Programming IT

Ask Slashdot: Is Tech Talent More Important Than Skill? 277

snydeq writes "Taming technology is sometimes more art than science, but the difference can sometimes be hard to discern, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'You've probably come across colleagues who were extremely skilled at their jobs — system administrators who can bend a zsh shell to their every whim, or developers who can write lengthy functions that compile without a whimper the first time. You've probably also come across colleagues who were extremely talented — who could instantly visualize a new infrastructure addition and sketch it out to extreme detail on a whiteboard while they assembled it in their head, for example, or who could devise a new, elegant UI without breaking a sweat. The truly gifted among us exhibit both of those traits, but most fall into one category or another. There is a difference between skill and talent. Such is true in many vocations, of course, but IT can present a stark contrast between the two.'"Assuming Venezia is correct, which do you think is more important?
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Ask Slashdot: Is Tech Talent More Important Than Skill?

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  • Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quinn_Inuit ( 760445 ) < minus poet> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:08PM (#44442629)
    Hard work usually wins the day.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
    • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:25PM (#44442731)

      No way.

      Someone who's willing to spend 12 hours a day trying their best, but not actually getting anything done is far less useful than someone who slacks of 7 hours of the day and gets a monumental amount done in the 60 minutes they are actually working. Usually the people doing that are pretty skilled and pretty talented - and have the bonus that when the shit hits the fan, you can usually get weeks worth of work done in surprisingly short time spans.

      • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:41PM (#44443189) Homepage

        This so often depends on what the task is. If management chooses to let you decide how to go from problem to solution, this kind of thing can happen for a lot of people. If management is already dictating specifics of the solution, then it is most likely to end up as a disaster (except people with the special unique skill of knowing how to deal with idiot managers).

      • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:59AM (#44443821) Homepage Journal

        I'm going with Coolidge on this one.

        "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
        -- Calvin Coolidge

        • Persistence: more stubborn than the problem. Combined with A creative laziness, and you've got someone who adds value.

        • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:50AM (#44443989) Journal
          Cute, but wrong. The world is full of persistent, determined failures. If you lack skills and talent, you will not succeed by persisting. If you lack the skills of a carpenter and the talent of an architect, you can "press" on all you want but it's unlikely that you'll build a house that stays up. You might come up with some sort of servicable shelter, but that's hardly contributing towards "solving the problems of the human race".

          Persistence is important of course; without persistence you are unlikely to develop your skills and talents. Solving hard problems takes persistence. But there is a difference between persisting in attacking a hard problem and not giving up after a failure or three, and persisting in trying and trying again when you simply lack the skills for the job. As GP points out, persistence can make up for some lack of skill, but it will not bring you on the same level as a highly skilled person.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race

          Worked well for the Titanic. You need both intelligence and perseverance, either alone is insufficient except by luck.

        • Re:Neither (Score:5, Interesting)

          by leaen ( 987954 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:10AM (#44445437)

          I'm going with Coolidge on this one. "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence...

          This is not true, to quote Kurt von Hammerstein:

          I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.

          I seen plenty of programmers that are persistent but their code is flawed on so many levels that if I wrote that code myself it would save me time over convincing managers that their code needs fixing and fixing it.

    • Different Jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:28PM (#44442745)

      What is described is two different jobs.

      • Sadly true (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bensyverson ( 732781 )
        That's true, and it's sad. People overspecialize these days, and underestimate themselves as a result. If you can optimize integer math, you can think big picture, and vice versa. Creativity is creativity.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Ok - I know plenty of guys that can do both ideals described, & I've seen it over a professional career as a developer from 1994-2009 fulltime. I've been fortunate to have been exposed to, worked with, and spoken to such folks thru academia right into the professional world... they ARE out there. They are BUILT, not born, most of the time. Field's TOO big for 'natural intellect' (skill via nature) to be the sole determinant.

        I'm talking guys I saw go on WAY past where I was, & were better @ the game

    • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:35PM (#44442793)

      A programmer with no talent that is a hard worker will still have tons of trouble doing anything new. And if the work is not new, do I really want someone to write more boring code?

      Now, there's such thing as a developer that spends the entire day goofing off, and those won't do any good. But after you pass a very basic level of dedication, it's the smart developers that have a clear advantage.

      If there's anything that the question is missing, is social skills. A very good developer that sits by himself is valuable, but if he can help others be better, and can communicate with users and people in other disciplines properly, he'll be far more useful.

      • Re:Neither (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @07:39AM (#44444983)

        And if the work is not new, do I really want someone to write more boring code?


        Part of the problem with the IT industry is the continual churn of 'new' stuff as everyone seeks to find ways to enhance their CVs. If we focussed on solving problems with existing tooling, we'd have a mature industry with standards and established practices, and have mature, stable products that worked!

        Its the so-called smart developers that aren't happy with yesterday's solutions and want to rewrite it because they're often not smart enough to maintain existing code.Maybe the smart ones are the ones who do the work on boring code after all.

        • With that outlook we'd all still be using something like Fortran. The IT industry is very very different from how it was 5, let alone 10-15 years ago. The industry moves at a lightning pace and it only stands to reason that the technologies involved would also change fairly quickly.

          Complaining about and resisting change is what gives "old" developers their not-so-great status in the industry as a whole. No one wants to hire someone who only wants to shoehorn a 15 year old solution into a modern problem

    • Work SMARTER, not HARDER.
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:20AM (#44443343) Journal
      Working hard and smart at the same time is normally a winning combination.

      It's been aid that laziness is a popular characteristic of a good programmers. a programmer's JOB is to make the computer work for you. Hard work in programming sometimes means writing 18 different classes in one day, to handle 18 different columns. a better approach is to write one abstract class and a couple of subclasses that handle the different columns is polymorphically.

      Many times I've deleted a hundred lines of code and replaced it with four lines that do the same task more reliably and more elegantly. My predecessor worked hard. I worked smart.

      That said, reading a 1300 page book to learn HOW to do it in four lines was "hard work". I suspect programmers should listen to the old advice about sharpening the axe and spend a lot of their mental energy learning how to accomplish more faster, rather than producing more lines of code per day. The number of bugs is proportional to the number of lines of code, so the person who writes more lines per day really just creates more problems per day.
    • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aralin ( 107264 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:06AM (#44443575)

      Oracle was trying in 2-3 projects over the span of 10 years to create a certain NDA covered technology. One of those tries involved a team of 700 people over 5 years. All those attempts failed and have been scraped, in some cases whole teams of people layed off. The attempt that eventually succeeded was one talented architect with 2 developers working for 6 months.

      Hard work my ass.

      • The team who worked for 6 months would have been working hard.

        I think you are misreading the "hard work trumps everything" to mean "hard work means not having to have skill or talent" which is of course untrue.
        However people real skill and talent who make a success of themselves tend to work very hard as well.
        Great examples are the famous mathematicians down the centuries. They had to work hard and without it they would not have released their talent as much as they might have.

        Hard work certainly helps thos

    • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:12AM (#44443607)

      Hard work usually wins the day.

      Hard work by a dullard is only effective for dull tasks.

    • Hard work? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @01:57AM (#44443817)
      Hard work may win you a pay check. Politics is what usually wins you a bigger pay check in IT. You can be skilled and talented all you want, but if you can't get your ideas across, you'll be sitting in a corner working your butt off without any recognition at all. You need people skills just as much as technical skills these days to survive.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Edward Scissorhands ( 665444 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:09PM (#44442631)
    I don't understand the difference. Who cares? If someone can get the job done, that's what counts.
    • I don't understand the difference. Who cares? If someone can get the job done, that's what counts.

      It sounds to me like the difference between tactics and strategy. One (skilled) is good at getting things done, another (talented) is good at design.

    • The difference is one is a learned skill and the other is instinctive. If someone has the latter they just have a knack for fixing/creating things without a full understanding of the underlying mechanics.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gorobei ( 127755 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:33PM (#44442775)

      I don't understand the difference. Who cares? If someone can get the job done, that's what counts.

      Ah, grasshopper, as you gain respect and seniority, you will find the success of your project becomes more and more dependent on other people.

      If you want to continue to succeed, you need to understand these peoples' strengths.

      1. No skill, no talent: avoid these people, have them write doc or something.
      2. Skill, no talent: give them designs or procedures. They will execute well if they understand what you want.
      3. No skill, talent. Mentor them and watch them closely. You will get a Scala engine running 20 lines of code in the middle of your Java app if you don't pay attention.
      4. Skill & Talent. Just chat will them about what you need. You'll get what you need in no time.

      • In its own way, writing documents well takes skill too.

        I don't generally write documentation, but I've seen the difference and it can be painful.
        • by satch89450 ( 186046 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:18PM (#44443065) Homepage

          OK, I have QA training in my background as well as programming skills, so apply appropriate amounts of salt: some of the most interesting blunders in design, and blunders in implementation, are exposed when a good technical writer tries to makes sense of what s/he sees, and fails. In the process of trying to teach others how it all works, all the warts, cracks, crocks, and kludges are exposed in all its glory. What doesn't make sense in a manual will most likely not make sense in the real world. Think of it as scaffolding for the mind. "According to the specification, when I do THIS then X is supposed to happen; instead Y happens." And so forth.

          When I was in a large programming group in the 70s, I was the guy sitting at a Wang word processor, banging out design specs and cursing some of the square-heads that couldn't seem to design their way out of a paper bag. When my company decided they wanted to build their own replacement computer for one they had been buying for years, they turned to me to "reverse engineer" the computer -- including all the proprietary extensions and additions -- so the hardware group would have something to design to, and the SQA people to test the implementation against.

          Actually, it's an old story in Engineering. When you try to explain something, you see holes that you were blind to for days, months, even years. It's an "Aha!" generator.

          • Actually, it's an old story in Engineering. When you try to explain something, you see holes that you were blind to for days, months, even years. It's an "Aha!" generator.

            Talk to the duck []

          • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

            this is one of the main reasons i participate on mailing lists and forums, and write readmes, tech notes, and documentation - the act of writing (or speaking, to a lesser extent) to explain something to someone else, or to solve their problem forces me to put my own thoughts and knowledge in order and ends up increases my own understanding.

            usually it's just a fairly minor incremental increase, but sometimes it's a major "aha!" moment of insight, completely overturning my old understanding and opening up new

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:13PM (#44442651)

    Assuming Venezia is correct, which do you think is more important?

    Whichever one I've got, with justification to follow.

  • Talent, obviously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:15PM (#44442663)

    Skill can be acquired.

    • ...and so is the idea of being "gifted." Pardon this little rant, which is not directed at you, AC, but what we call "talent" is essentially skill plus passion. When a person is phenomenal programmer, or writer, or guitar player, they didn't get that way because it was gifted to them. They either put in thousands of hours practicing, or they had an all-consuming passion for it. So skill wins out in this reductive comparison, because in technology, you must be creative to be considered skillful.
      • by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:19AM (#44443907)

        Talent isn't a myth, but it isn't what people think it is.

        Being talented doesn't make you a phenomenal programmer because you still have to learn to program. Being talented however allows you to understand what it is you are doing in a way that makes becoming a phenomenal programmer vastly easier. This makes talented people look like better programmers when in fact what they are actually better at is understanding and learning programming, or music, or whatever else it might be. That's really only a semantic difference though because at equal levels of skill(and particularly at close to zero skill) talent shows up in the results.

        Does that mean skill and hard work don't matter? Of course not. It does however mean that if you want to perform as well as someone who is much more talented than you, you will have to work significantly harder than them.

  • It depends on how much talent versus how much skill. You COULD just calculate the area under the curve to get total value...
    • though i am gonna loose all my moderation done in this post... i wholeheartedly agrees with you.

      talent can get you upto speed, skill means you are already upto speed. next just boils down to how much time(+resources) can be provided in a project. if project is in design phase or already in maintenance mode with few devs working for new requirements, (i personally) will search for talent. but if something needs be solved within 2 hours and my sysadmin is on vacation, i better get some skilled person!
      again as

  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:21PM (#44442695)

    The terms to use aren't "Talent" and "Skill" (those are pretty darn close to synonyms)... If you use those two terms, of COURSE you confuse yourself.

    I believe in IT we would refer to the two people as a Coder vs. an Architect. And yes, one person is often better at one of those things than the other. And this sort split is virtually universal across professions; it's not special to IT in any way.

    • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:46PM (#44442853) Journal
      In IT, at least, they're given two different job titles. I think in other professions it isn't as clear cut. I'm great at visualizing interconnected systems and jiggering logic, but ask me to code and I get stuck in my own personal infinite loop. That's why I'm an analyst and not a programmer.
    • I believe in IT we would refer to the two people as a Coder vs. an Architect. And yes, one person is often better at one of those things than the other. And this sort split is virtually universal across professions; it's not special to IT in any way.

      For sysadmins, we call it Windows verses Unix. :-)

    • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:59PM (#44443255)

      Except in modern practice, 'coder' is a monkey who took an 8 week Khan Academy course in Java, while an 'architect' is a guy who knows powerpoint. Most frequently observed alongside 'managers' whose skillset includes Outlook, and 'the rest of the employees' who watch as their companies fold/outsource anything important.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Let's look at this from another perspective. I know parents whose kids go to several specialized high school, art, science, engineering, aerospace. In the arts in particular many parent want the school to foster broad creativity, but what they teach is skill. They screen for talent, then the kids who can stifle the talent for a few years and learn skills are the ones who graduate and go off to the major art universities. The other schools generally do the same thing. Look for talent, build skills.


    • Talent is what you are born with. Skill is what you work to develop. It seems obvious that a talented person can reach higher skill levels than a lesser talented person .... If they work at it. Ah! There's the rub.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...but this isn't it. These are just two different kinds of skills.

    • Skill is simply developed talent. The question is: which is worth more: mediocre talent, well developed, or great talent, indifferently developed? Tough choice that, I'd tend to take a pass on both.

      Great talent better be coupled with great motivation or the result will be just be yet another great talent waiting on tables.

  • doesn't mean they are. The dictionary definition of talent is so vague (4. a) : a special innate or developed aptitude for an expressed or implied activity usually of a creative or artistic nature) that it's not much more than something you can do with a degree of competence.
  • Wrong word choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hurwak-feg ( 2955853 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:35PM (#44442791)
    I think Venezia is using the wrong words. I think Creativity vs Skill would be a better comparison. Talent in a sense is just a measure of how quickly one can learn a skill. Both talent and creativity are important. Creativity is needed to find innovative and unconventional (can be good or bad) solutions to problems. Skill is needed to be able to understand the problem and actually produce the work. Programming, systems administration, troubleshooting applications, and other IT tasks/roles all have skills and knowledge that one must acquire before being able to accomplish tasks the job requires. Without the skills and knowledge to fully understand the problem/task, the most creative (talented as Venezia puts it) person in the world won't be able to perform the task required of them. The reverse is also true. Someone could have the depth of knowledge to translate something as abstract as Python to machine code in their head, but if they lack the creativity to apply it or consider non technical approaches (which can be better in some cases) to the task or problem, they aren't very useful either. TLDR - Both are important.
    • Talent in a sense is just a measure of how quickly one can learn a skill.

      And even that is a skill, in large part.

  • by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:36PM (#44442801)

    My car's engine or its wheels?

    Do I need to have a fuel tank, too?

    (sorry, I couldn't resist making a car analogy)

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )

      Well, at least it fits the now running obligatory car analogy.

    • I have an 18 year old car with 186,000 miles. I drove it a couple miles, parked the car for an hour, and then I proceeded to drive home.

      The engine had trouble shifting out of 1st gear. I pull off the road, turn off the engine and restart to "reboot", drive off, and it shifts, but the engine labors.

      I pull into the garage at home, and I am starting to trail smoke. Turn off the motor and the car smells real bad. Oh oh, the transmission just gave out and time to call the scrap dealer.

      Curiousity takes

  • Grow up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:38PM (#44442813) Homepage

    We used to ask these questions back when we were seven:

    Who do you love more, your mom or your dad?

    Oh grow up. Both are important and there is absolutely no reason or need to create a linear ordering among them.

  • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

    In grand /. tradition, I am only commenting on the summary, as I have not read the article.

    Talent is a great thing to have, but anyone sufficiently skilled to do the job is good enough. It doesn't matter how (easily) they got the skill. On the other hand, someone with talent, but no focus to apply it, is worthless. A super-star programmer who only writes good code is probably not going to be great when things go bad. Unless he only deals with his own code, he has to know how to read bad code, how to deb

  • If the zsh guy gets a problem with zsh you are golden. However if it's a problem needing some Erlang code to find the minimum feedback arcset you are in trouble.

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @10:54PM (#44442903) Homepage Journal

    Skill or talent!

    Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    This is essentially a false dichotomy. Creativity vs technical excellence.

    Sure, you can have creativity without technical excellence. There's hordes of crappy garage bands out there that can attest to this.

    You can also have technical excellence without creativity. Think about some of the ugliest, most painful-to-read code you have ever seen, but that happens to just work.

    You do NOT prioritize one over the other (well, you can, but you're a dumbass of Jobsian proportions if you do).

    Ideally, you want them to co-exist, harmoniously, in your people. Or, if that isn't happening, you make sure that they can interact amiably.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 )

    Is this about Architecture vs. Design vs. Implementation? Of course a really good engineer can do all three well and can document them well in addition. But there is no "more" important. Unless all are done well, the final result will suck. If you do not have somebody that can do all or the project is to large, you need to find somebody that does each aspect well.

  • I've known no shortage of white board artists who could sketch diagrams in a blinding flash but who were otherwise completely useless to the team. Nor could they explain their white board diagrams in terminology that enabled those who were skilled at coding to be able to implement their grand visions.

    Visionaries are a dime a dozen. But without the skill to put those visions in practice, they're just dead weight.

  • This is a bit like asking which is more important: the left side of the brain, or the right side of the brain?
  • Is the talent to present and convince .. to get it sold. Without colleges support there will be no compensation.

  • ... and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.

  • If there is a difference between skill and talent, neither the summary nor the article make the distinction clear.

    • We are born with talents. Skills are learned. People can have both. Some talent may be required to reach a truly proficient skill level. Untrained talent may be dazzling, but unrefined. For businesses, skill is the more important attribute, but talent certainly helps.

  • It probably depends on what their job is. Asking this as an open question is like asking "Which is a better tool, a hammer or a saw?"

    If they're your UI designer, Software Architect, or User Experience Designer? It's probably better to err on the side of "talent" (creativity) rather than technical skill. These people don't need to output elegant and functional code, they just need to come up with clever ideas and solutions from a broader more holistic perspective.

    If they're your Frontend Developer, UI Develo

  • if it were, I'd be working.

  • by Diomedes01 ( 173241 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:43PM (#44443193)

    Is this whole story a troll? The false dichotomy proposed between the (poorly-labelled) attributes of "talent" and "skill" is disingenuous. The comparison between acquired knowledge (what the author refers to as "skill") and inductive reasoning about a proposed new piece of functionality/infrastructure/etc (referred to by as "talent" in this bizarre example) is contrived, and somewhat arbitrary. I almost never read or discuss Slashdot stories anymore, and this s a great example of the underlying problem. Now, all you kids get off my lawn, and leave me in peace.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:00AM (#44443257)

    There seems to be an stuff that seems an lot stuff that in theory will work but when it comes to the hands on part people with the hands on experience will say that will not work or it's an bad idea.

  • I'd say the bigger issue than talent (or creativity, as one poster put it) vs. skill, since both can be learned with enough effort and training, is a reasonably-congenial personality. That is to say, you might have the hottest c0d1n6 5k1llz in the world, and the actual creative thinking ability to put those skills into practical use, but you're a complete asshole, no one's going to want to work with you - either your coworkers or your next prospective employer - and you'll basically just not get anything d

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      but you're a complete asshole, no one's going to want to work with you

      That's a management issue and theoretically why managers are considered to be worth what they are paid - you put the people that have problems dealing with others into roles where it doesn't matter, and you deal with them yourself fully aware that it's not always going to be easy.
      You don't have to choose everyone as if you want them to be a salesman.

  • What's perceived as "talent" is a high level of skill. I simply don't believe in extreme differences in native ability between one normal person and another. Aside from physical defects, and impairments, every person starts life with very nearly the same brain. Differences in what we can do well develop over time by the accumulation of skills. The geniuses out there didn't get so good at what they do by being dealt a royal flush. They got there by being interested in certain kinds of activity and purs

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:33AM (#44443385)
    A variation on this theme was a two tiered development group. Group 1 came up with every new improvement and product idea. Group 2 finished group 1's ideas. But group 2 didn't answer to group 1 so if group 1 had gone off the rails then group 2 sort of didn't work on it. The recognition was that group 1 was a bit ADD while group 2 was a bit autistic/OCD. The key was that group 1 would not communicate so much with group 2 as that would just end up with blood on the walls but that group 1 communicated with the fairly relaxed group leaders who just herded group 2 into not grumbling and moving forward.

    The best interactions with the two groups were when group 2 would get stuck (their faces got closer to their screens) and group 1 would be handed the problem again. Often the solution would be available in 5 minutes.

    This way group 2 could use TDD or coding standards, documenting, QA stuff, or whatever they wanted that would have driven group 1 insane. Once group 1 handed it over they could then forget the project existed. What they could often do was insist on certain parameters. 30 fps minimum or whatever they knew was critical to the actual success. Group 2 would then have to obsess over that instead of obsessing over some other religious matter such as excessive logging that dropped performance to 2 fps.
  • The talent of Tiger Woods really just came from practising his skill as often as possible for many years. He's also done something similar with his golf.
  • I'm more talented than skilled, but consider skilled workers more important. Talented people will take their talents with them when they leave the job. Skilled workers will leave the benefits of their skill in the work they leave behind - better architected, easier to maintain, more bug-free code than someone without skill. Talented/unskilled people would get it done fast, and produce a trainwreck.

  • by the-build-chicken ( 644253 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @12:45AM (#44443449)
    don't be a dick

    It's what I tell all my students who ask for career advice, what tech to study, how to succeed in IT etc etc etc.

    In an industry full of people with big 'ol chips on their shoulders about how special they are for knowing what a variable is, many of which have zero social skills or charisma, zero ability to see other people's/department's point of view, and where not an inconsequential amount are "on the spectrum"... just being a good guy (or gal) that makes your client's lives easier instead of harder and does it daily with a smile, a laugh and a warm handshake, is far more important than any technical skill/talent.
  • Just to explain for the 1st class citizens who work with real languages on real project with proper budgets and deadlines, the web world is mostly: we want it yesterday, for less, done by the company cat who ran away.

    We who use PHP are the bastard children of a lesser god.

    If you are extremely unlucky you will end up in a magento/drupal/etc sweatshop punching out nearly identical websites on budgets that real programmers call their hourly rate.

    If you want to escape that you are going to need a couple of t

  • It's simply not possible. If you don't get the tech, you can't work with it. Some may pick up new tech faster than others, or perceive to at least. But that is more related to how much other knowledge they have, and what's in the active portions of their brains when they are looking at it.

    I work with a programmer who has a very sound programming way of looking at problems. Sometimes I learn things, but I'm never truly lost. He is a programmer working on programs, and I'm an Admin/Engineer working on sy

  • but most fall into one category or another

    In my experience, most software developers fall into neither category. The vast majority are un-skilled, un-talented plodders. When you come across one who is either skilled or talented you should cherish them.

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  • It isn't art or science, it's engineering. It is different from both, and requires proficiency in both approcahes to problem solving.

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone