Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Moving Up the Developer Value Chain

The following attributes distinguish developers who operate from high up the value chain:

  • Awareness of other parts of the value chain
  • Ability to perceive distinct software concerns
  • Interest in incorporating proven techniques
  • Keenness to use the latest ideas
  • Forward thinking (for instance, intelligent logging)
  • Good coding practices

What are the defining attributes of the programmer who is low on the value chain?

  • Unaware of the needs of others in the value chain
  • Always in a hurry - will fearlessly modify cross-cutting concern code
  • Little or no interest in new ideas or best practices
  • Keen to hand over ownership of code to an unlucky recipient

Following are some steps that developers can try in order to move up the chain:

  • Learn about the other parts of the value chain, and in the wider company
  • Think in an abstract way and understand the cross-cutting concerns
  • Read about programming, open source, patterns, etc.
  • Use labor-saving techniques such as design patterns
  • Give short presentations on important and relevant open source projects
  • Heed the needs of people in other parts of the value chain
  • Specialize in some important area of expertise

How to specialise:

  • Choose a complex and well established domain e.g. part of the financial services industry
  • Choose an area that has a decent shelf life, in excess of five years
  • Combine business knowledge with technical knowledge

Moving C++ and Java Programmers Up the Value Chain

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