A theory on the two types of programmers has parallels in the accounting profession:
There are two “classes” of programmers in the world of software development: I’m going to call them the 20% and the 80%.
The 20% folks are what many would call “alpha” programmers — the leaders, trailblazers, trendsetters, the kind of folks that places like Google and Fog Creek software are obsessed with hiring.
Of course bloggers are 20% folks. Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror expands on the theory in this direction:
I often think we’re wasting our time writing blogs which are largely read by the same 20%. In my experience, there’s precious little trickle-down effect from the alpha programmers to everyone else. And if there is, it takes decades. If you really want to change the software development status quo, if you want to make a difference this year, you have to help us reach outside our insular little group of alpha programmers and effect change in the other 80% of the world.
I think the rule applies in all areas of life. Roughly 20% are the go-getters, and they’ve got the drive and ambition to innovate in their careers and their lives and effect change.
There are those who are curious and always seeking to learn new things, and there are those content to scrape by with the minimum effort required. What do you think? Is this view overly simplified?