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The Top 10 Attributes of a Great Programmer May 20th, 2011

The Top 10 Attributes of a Great Programmer

While looking at the top weekly links on dzone (good way to see what are the important things that happened), I came across a very intriguing entry: The Top 10 Attributes of a Great Programmer by Steve Riley.

These always “get me,” but a lot of times they end up being just a quick browse. This one is different. Though the attributes are similar to what I”ve seen before (see entries in Craftsmanship category), they’re good. And it’s always good to re-read them.

Here are the top 10 form the blog. Read the whole post as the author gives his own explanations. My thoughts are below.

  1. Being a great problem solver.
  2. Being driven and lazy at the same time.
  3. Ability to understand other people’s code
  4. Having a passion for programming
  5. Loving learning for the sake of learning
  6. Being good at math
  7. Having good communications skills
  8. Strong debating skills
  9. Extreme optimism
  10. Extreme pessimism

Being a good problem solver? Of course! Great programmers are great problem solvers. Agreed!

Being driven and lazy. I keep telling my wife that being lazy is a good think. She doesn’t get it! :) But I agree that being lazy is a good quality to have in programming.

Ability to understand other people’s code. Somewhat agree. Is it just me, though, but I see a ton of code that I’m having very hard time following! I would say it differently: great programmers write code that others can understand; great programmers write code for humans to read.

If you don’t have a passion for programming… can you excel in any other profession if you don’t have passion!?

Everybody needs to learn and work hard to get better. That’s why great programmers go the less traveled road.

Being good at math? Debatable. I think there is a connection, but wouldn’t pay that much attention to it. But yeah, I was good in math. :)

All in all, a good post by Steve.

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