Steve Jobs on Programmers (via Brent Schlender)

Earlier this week, Brent Schlender published selected Steve Jobs quote highlights from his interview tape archives.

Here’s one about us:

The difference between the best worker on computer hardware and the average may be 2 to 1, if you’re lucky. With automobiles, maybe 2 to 1. But in software, it’s at least 25 to 1. The difference between the average programmer and a great one is at least that.

This illustrates that there’s always lots of headroom to keep growing as a developer. We should always keep learning, and strive to become ever stronger at our craft.

You might also enjoy the history and observant commentary in Schlender’s other new article The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes, which focuses on “the wilderness years.”

8 thoughts on “Steve Jobs on Programmers (via Brent Schlender)

  1. In hardware, you usually have real Engineers with degrees and experience. In software, that’s not the case.

    There are tons of non-degreed people, and those never properly trained in computer science, so it’s not odd that the quality range is so high.

  2. @Henry: C++ never changes? I wonder what Herb has to say to that :P.

  3. @Simon: I didn’t mean to stop improving the skills with the technology you currently use (C++ in that case), but it always helps to broaden your horizon.
    For example, Scala also helped me to write better Java code.


  4. My feeling is that no-one has time to become a true expert on the latest technology. Some people are attracted to C++ because it never changes.

  5. @Markus Jais

    Have been doing C++ for many years? Not enough; learn more C++…

  6. I agree. The difference can be huge. I think good programmers always learn something new.
    Have been doing RDBMs for many years? Learn NoSQL databases.
    Have been doing C++ for many years? learn Java or C#.
    Have been doing Java for many years? Learn Scala, Clojure or C++11
    etc, etc.

    The sad thing is that many companies don’t pay good developers much more than average developers and then tend to not get the really good ones.


  7. Thanks a lot for sharing these very good links..

    I’m just reading Biography Steve Jobs, links added more value to it.

    Thanks !!!

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