Thursday, August 1, 2013

Technologists -- like DaVinci -- are as much artists as technicians

It seems every software project relies on a few talented individuals, people who know how to utilize their tools to craft often unique solutions. Leonardo DaVinci may perhaps be the consummate example of artist/engineer, devising incredible artifacts that are engineering marvels, but also artistic wonders.

Deep End's Paul Venezia writes,

You've probably come across colleagues who were extremely skilled at their jobs — system administrators who can bend a zsh shell to their every whim, or developers who can write lengthy functions that compile without a whimper the first time. You've probably also come across colleagues who were extremely talented — who could instantly visualize a new infrastructure addition and sketch it out to extreme detail on a whiteboard while they assembled it in their head, for example, or who could devise a new, elegant UI without breaking a sweat. The truly gifted among us exhibit both of those traits, but most fall into one category or another. There is a difference between skill and talent. Such is true in many vocations, of course, but IT can present a stark contrast between the two.

Paul writes more about the duality of the nature of todays's programmer. Of course, customer objectives can influence this -- if the architect chooses to let the developer decide how to solve a from problem, creativity can flow. If the architect is already dictating specifics of the solution, then it is likely the developer is more craftsman. I'm of two minds on this: take the right approach for the unique situation, but apply repeatable processes to ensure quality.

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