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Great developers vs Not so great developers

By onbliss ·
In the discussions under the blog - "Ripoff Educations" (, one theme that appeared many times was - "great coder vs the not so great coders". I thought a separate discussion thread on this theme would be fun to have.

I am using the term "developer" instead of the term "coder" - just personal preference. Also invariably any person who codes does not "purely" code - they are involved in a project and work in the context of completing a project. Hence lots of soft and technical skills come into play. Also the work entails more than just coding.

So what traits distinguish great developers from the not so great developers?

edit: grammar

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From what viewpoint?

by Jaqui In reply to Great developers vs Not s ...

From a business viewpoint, add being a team player to Tony's description.

From the team's viewpoint, you still need the team player requirement.
They also need to be able to write code to the standard set for the project.
they have to be able to comment their code effectively.
they have to be able to debug code.
They have to be willing to help the rest of the team when any member hits a blockage.

a Great Developer is more than just someone that can produce code. They have to be able to enable the rest of the team as well.

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Greatness defined

by onbliss In reply to From what viewpoint?

Wouldn't the word "great" necessitate the inclusion of all viewpoints? For example: After a QA person identifies a bug, what is the attitude and approach of the developer could be considered in determining if the developer is "great" or "not so great". Shouldn't we include viewpoints from all?

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That to me is why the emphasis of 'great'

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Greatness defined

is on the soft skills. To apply your technical skill (however strong or weak) you must communicate succesfully with the business, QA, users, peers and their dog.

Otherwise you greatness will never be apparent and therefore is non-existant.

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and why

by Jaqui In reply to That to me is why the emp ...

I had team player as part of both mentioned viewpoints.

A major part of any team effort is communication. Without it all you have is a collection of individuals doing their own things.

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in my view

by Jaqui In reply to Greatness defined

Q&A are a part of the development team.
without their input those doing the code part can't find every problem, so they can't fix them.
I wasn't trying to limit the viewpoints to be concidered, just listed two and gave what these two can [ not do or will ] concider important in a great developer.

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My two cents

by Shellbot In reply to Great developers vs Not s ...

I like to think that a great developer is one who pushes boundries (yet recognises that you can't always do this). Too many developers i see go in and get the job done, with no flair. Not saying you have to be creative to be great, but there's a certain element in it.

They don't research more effective ways, or new and emerging ways. They just do the work "how they always have".

I'll use my better half as an example. He is incredibly good at what he does, yet alwys tries to do better and does things with "coding" that most don't. The rest of the developers around him go and do what they have to, still using what they learned 10 years ago, while he innovates and is continuously learning more.

Every week he brings home something new, 4 weeks ago he started using AJAX, now this weke he's into JASON.. but, he's using what he's learning to enhance the product and make better ways to do things.

I think its all about the drive to improve:
oneself & the project

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by onbliss In reply to My two cents

To summarize, you view attitude to be an important quality of a great developer. Being proactive stems from the attitude.

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to summarize

by Shellbot In reply to Attitude

a lot of people say that to me, I'm starting to take it personally :)

But yes, thats it i guess!

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tis ok :)

by Shellbot In reply to :-(

I know what ye were up to :)

(and i know i can be a bit wordy!)

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