The trajectory of a software engineer… and where it all goes wrong

Just came across a thought-provoking post by a developer called Michael Church on the subject of the trajectory of a software engineer:

Using a 0.0 to 3.0 scale, he categorizes a Software developer from a novice to a “Senior fellow”. A novice is a rookie programmer who may not provide enough value for the remuneration which he/she is being paid whereas a Senior Fellow is one of the best known programmer in the world, typically known for his outstanding and groundbreaking contributions to the industry as a whole.

While most programmers may start off as novice (0.0 to 0.4) or marginally better, very few move beyond a 1.0. At a level of 1.0-1.3, a programmer becomes something what Michael calls a full-fledged adder, a stage where they are able to make decent contributors to the projects which they directly work on. But unfortunately, most programmers fail to advance much further than that, often not necessarily due to intellectual limitations, but rather due to lack of drive and curiosity.

In my opinion, thought leaders like Martin Fowler or Kent Beck probably falls under 2.4 to 2.6: Global multiplier (“Fellow”) whereas the likes of Linus Torwalds, Peter Norvig and Richard Stallman falls under 2.7 to 3.0: Senior fellow — the highest level of distinction possible.

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