The Eight Levels of Programmers

Regarding Dijkstra, Knuth Kay:

quoteVery few programmers ever achieve this level in their own lifetimes./quote

Oh, and s/Gates/Torvalds/.

Thanks, I needed a label. Now I know my place in society. LOL

I hope this isn’t a strict numerical progression, if ‘average programmer’ means GOTO SOME_OTHER_JOB as you are implying.

I’m probably 4 going 5 soon. But going to drop myself back to 3 this fall when i go back to school.

I’d personally like to be successful, competent, and working - so far, so good. Even though I’ve written a book, I doubt I’ll ever be famous. Besides, if I ever become famous, I’ll have to start behaving badly and deal with the paparazzi, like all the other famous programmers. How do you and Joel live with that?

How exactly does an amateur programmer get a higher ranking than an unknown programmer. Wouldn’t an amateur be trying to get a job in the programming field?

// Maybe not understanding this is why I’m only a #4

Gates was a programmer? Whom are you kidding? What code did he actually wrote?

I would have put Torvalds and Stallman on the list at levels 7 and/or 8

I’m at 5 bruteforcing my way to 6 :wink:

Actually I feel like I’ve just touched a project that is useful to others, hasn’t been done before and makes the actual work I want to do a lot easier. If that isn’t going to make me famous, I’m at least going to maintain a smoking cool library.

@Regis: 9. Legendary Programmer - see (tongue firmly planted in check).

Are you bored? Another let’s put programmers into different categories post? What about the Full Time Blogger Programmer? Which one are you?

Maybe not understanding this is why I’m only a #4

You say that as if it’s a bad thing. Someone’s got to be average otherwise there’d be nothing to measure by.

4 for life.

I like to think that I’m a number 3, and fear being a number 1.

Jeff, where would you put David Caminer?

I would bet most people at 5 are also at number 2. I’m a successful programmer, 17 years working at a high rate of pay. I keep my skills up to date and know I could have another job within a few days if I decided to leave where I am. What I do actually affects the bottom line of the company I’m with. That puts me in category 5 doesn’t it? But at the same time, you don’t know me, I’m not famous and I work for a Megacorp. So except for your Competent (usually) but unremarkable statement, that makes me number 2 as well.

Your levels 1-5 are all actually part of number 2. Number 6 defines what is not in group number 2 doesn’t it? Oww my head hurts.

I hope I’ll still be programming when I’m 50. If I’m not, then I have less than 47 days to live. Until one of those days arrives, I think I must be some sort of #5


“I meant Dead Programmer figuratively, not literally.”

I know you don’t like people taking your posts literally, but I do think in this case you should change the post to make it clear that Knuth is not dead. I suspect a lot of people do not read the comments, and will assume, as I did, that they’d missed some announcement.

How about the 'Woz? Or is he more of an electrical engineer then a programmer?

If 2/3 of your dead programmers are not actually dead, you should probably pick a better name. Otherwise you’re pulling a Humpty Dumpty.