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Issa Jean Marie

@issadevs founder

14th April, 2023

Difference between a good and a great programmer

Difference between a good and a great programmer

How did he do it? How does he/she come up with a solution in such a short time? We all ask ourselves those questions when we see someone writing great codes or solving programming challenges that we have been dealing with for days just in a few minutes.

It can take years and hard work to consider yourself a great programmer. But no matter what keep learning, that’s what great programmers do, they keep learning.

There are so many differences between a good programmer and a great one, but the most obvious ones are that great programmers sometimes have so many years of experience, they can work independently without needing assistance, they have deeper skills in programming concepts than in programming languages, they always keep the future in mind when developing software by considering maintainability and scalability of the project, they have solid problem-solving skills that help them look in different corners when tackling a problem, they can explain things clearer, and they keep learning.

If you wanted to know if you are a good or a great programmer, let me elaborate on this for you. I, myself, am trying to get better every single day. I know it takes time and hard work, but I do believe in the progress and so should you.

  • Experience

    Some things can’t be learned except from the experience. A kid can be smart but they are things he/she can’t know except she/he experiences them. The longer you stay in the industry, the more comfortable and pro you become at it. Next time you see someone with 10+ years of experience as a PHP developer, it’s not just a number, he knows more than you can imagine.

    Unless you are an unlearned person, you should strive to improve yourself in what you do to become much better every single day and step out of the crowd of average developers.

  • Problem-solving skills

    Great programmers tend to understand things rather than memorize them. They put the box aside and think. A good programmer can solve problems but in one case or another, he/she may get stuck and ask for assistance, and he/she will figure out later that the answer has always been there.

    Great programmers, on the other hand, look further and pay attention to every detail. They step back and not be biased by their first solution, they try new approaches, and that’s how they come up with new solutions, by letting the old, not working ones go.

  • Amount of supervision required

    A great programmer can work independently without needing anyone to assist with the tasks. Although he may work assistance-free, he might sometimes need people to brainstorm solutions with, we are all humans after all. Contrarily, good programmers need assistance now and then. They can handle things themselves, but sometimes they doubt their approaches and that’s when they ask for assistance, but that’s how they grow.

  • Understanding of programming concepts

    I know so many software developers who consider themselves full-stack software developers. You can be a full-stack developer, I believe you, but the thing is, you are less likely to do all of them at once. It’s good to know so many stacks, it makes your job market even bigger, but the problem is, the more things you learn the little you master any of them. Great programmers I know specialize in one thing, they do front-end, back-end, or data science. But they have spent so many years doing it that they know every scenario and challenges that may arise.

    If you want to become a great programmer, I suggest you try to understand programming concepts on a very deep level, this will distinguish you from average programmers when you face a challenge that needs some thinking.

  • Good vs Working Software

    ”If it works, don’t touch it” - Good programmers. “Can someone else understand my codes? Will it be scalable in the future?” - Great programmers

    Great programmers do not only build working software but also a good ones. They look beyond “it works” to “is it fast?”, “is it optimized?” and other things that make software better.

  • Future consideration

    Great programmers can spend more time automating things for the future. They invest so many resources to make the project scalable and maintainable. Good developers live in the present. As I said, “If it works, don’t touch it” is their motto.

  • Learning

    Great programmers learn daily. It doesn’t matter if they learn from an intern, if it’s new and important to them, they make it their day's lesson. So, you are still a good programmer if you are not improving, just step out of that comfort and pick up a new skill.

Just a bonus, great programmers know things so well that explaining to other people is natural and simple for them to understand.

I know it’s hard, but I believe in you. Keep up the pace, keep learning and you will become that great programmer you have always dreamt of in no time. And if you already are, please pick those other developers’ hands and help them grow.

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