Thursday, July 12, 2007

Does a good programmer make an unhappy manager?

I previously wrote about career paths for software developers, and most of the career choices require getting away from coding.

It seems people like Rob Walling don't like the transition:
The end result of promoting your best developers is at best a few unhappy months as they struggle with their unhappiness and desire to return to code. The worst case is they feel unbridled resentment as you watch them rush out the door like there was a 2-for-1 sale at Barnes & Noble.

Rob also opposes the promotion of good developers:
The problem is not that developers are promoted, it's that the developers who are promoted are the "big producers," the ones who come through on their projects. These are the same developers who stay late and read software books on the weekend because of their love for programming, which is why they come through on their projects. Promoting someone who loves to write software into a position where they will write little or no software doesn't make a ton of sense

But who can you promote if not the good workers - the bad ones?

Rob also ignores the age problem in this profession - being a developer at the bottom of the food chain means finding job becomes more & more difficult as you grow older. His solution was freelancing, working as his own boss. That's fine for some people, but it does carry a financial risk, and not everyone like being a freelance developer.

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