Why being a good programmer barely requires programming at all.

Yes, you read that right. To be a good programmer you don’t need to be good at programming.

I hear what you’re thinking, that makes no sense! Well hold on a second, hear me out.

When you think of a good programmer you know, what’s the first trait that springs to your mind? Determined, smart, approachable? Calm, Quiet, or conscientious? Maybe it’s something else, but I can bet it wasn’t… a really good programmer. Why is that?

Programmers require lots of skills in their day to day jobs. The discipline no longer consists of sitting in a dark basement on your own thrashing out some code. In fact interpersonal skills are some of the most important a good programmer can have. Agile methodologies require lots of communication between different departments and individuals. You’ll be required to check in at least once a day, be available for planning, refinement, retros; constantly communicating about struggles, improvements and things that are going well.

The old days of getting your tasks and specifications up front, and being left to your own devices is long gone. You’ll probably be in contact with your users, asked difficult questions about your progress, and required to feed information back to your product owner/manager.

You’ll need to talk through your design with your superior and team as most likely you won’t be working on this on your own. Testers will be asking for updates, questioning whether your unit tests are credible and sufficient, your issue tracker will need to be constantly updated keeping discussions available for all to see.

You actually might be better off with a psychology degree then a computer science one to understand how to deal with all these different people.

So yeah, programming is gonna be needed at some point, but in general the stuff that 90% of us will be doing won’t require any revolutionary coding expertise.

In most cases the reason a project will fail is because requirements were not properly discussed and refined, or teams did not communicate properly about what was required from them. Rarely will it be because you weren’t a good enough coder.

Do you share the same views? Or do you think I’m talking nonsense, I’d love to hear your opinions below.

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