6.1.16

What Makes A Good Programmer

I was reading a question on Quora about diversity in Silicon Valley where the vast majority of answers blamed the lack of diversity on the fact that most people in minority groups in the US don't get as much exposure to programming and high tech gadgets when they are young so they are not good enough for Silicon Valley companies when they get old.

Typically interviews for Silicon Valley companies follow a particular format that is easy to pass through if you practice a certain set of skills mostly revolving around self-confidence. However, if you spent most of your life struggling to prove yourself to others who always shove you into some bad stereotype based solemnly on your external appearance, then being cocky won't come naturally at all even with lots of practice.

Practically no time for any other emotional state

What makes a programmer a good programmer has nothing to do with how cocky one is, or what gender one is, or what skin colour one has, or how much exposure one has to high tech gadgets.

Being a good programmer has everything to do with how good of a problem solver one is.

How good of a problem solver one is has everything to do with how observant one is.

In my experience people who were raised in bad conditions tend to be far more observant than people raised in nearly perfect environments.

Necessity spawns invention, which is why people raised in imperfect environments tend to come up with truly innovative ideas that others with more means steal if they have the intelligence to recognize the potential of the idea.

Meanwhile, in another Quora thread someone posed the question of "why does Silicon Valley need diversity when it is doing so well?".

There is the illusion that Silicon Valley is doing so well because investors are still showering starry eyed dudes of a particular background with cold cash in the hopes of striking the next Google or Facebook while jeopardizing the entire American economy in the process.

Meanwhile, the quality of products that come out of Silicon Valley strongly suggests that the Valley is certainly not at its peak and it is certainly not the innovation hub it once was in that it fails to produce new useful products that solve hard problems