Survey: Getting to 10x — What do the Best Developers Have in Common?
Eric Elliott


There is something that I found to be a strong signal, but I didn’t find words clearly matching it.

In my experience, “so so” developers often say things like “if only this was automated”, “if only this process was better”, “if only there was this method in the framework”, “if only someone documented this”, etc.

“productivity ehancers” I’ve seen, on the other hand, are more likely to offer concrete and argumented solutions for processes (“can we do this instead of that, it would be better because…”), share automation (“this was boring and repetitive, you can find my script to do it on this repo”), update documentation, and ask for time to improve existing API/tools if the task is too long to fit in project spare time.

They’re also more likely to practice “boy scout coding” and to provide full context with code.

I tried to select closely related words, but some things around initiative taking would have been a nice addition to the survey. Maybe for a next edition?

That said, nice idea.

EDIT: additional comment, more methodology related: why having chosen to put only positive terms for “best dev” and negative terms for “worst dev”? And why different words for the two? I’m sure that if prompted to, I can find negatively perceived traits shared by best developers I know. Plus, using the same list for both would remove some bias, by allowing calculation of statistically significant difference of upvote frequence for a term if related to good developer vs bad developer. Would be even better if there was a control (trait associated to “developer” vs “best dev” vs “worst dev”), and maybe if each survey taker was getting only one of the options. With random word ordering. Yes, I digress, I’ll stop there.

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