3. Finding and Hiring Great Programmers

There are many programmers. However, there are not that many great programmers.

“Exceptional engineers are more likely than non-exceptional engineers to maintain a ‘big picture,’ have a bias for action, be driven by a sense of mission, exhibit and articulate strong convictions, play a pro-active role with management, and help other engineers,” said an insightful 1993 study of software engineers.1

1. Richard Turley and James Bieman, Competencies of Exceptional and Non-Exceptional Software Engineers (Colorado State University, 1993).

Frederick Brooks in his classic work The Mythical Man-Month2 cited a study3 from 25 years earlier that showed, among programmers with two years’ experience and similar training, ...

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