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are there "average" programmers that are successful?

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i mean for some reason, and some common sense, i have accepted the fact that i may never be able to compete against the smart kids from awesome colleges in algorithms/design etc...i also kind of accepted that i may never work for a cool high tech company. i mean, i was reading logic questions that were asked of potential google/microsoft employees and I dont think I would be able to answer but a few questions correctly, especially being under the interview pressure. now is it possible to be succesful programmer, aka decently paid, but have a 'average' mind? are there any 'average' programmers that work in game development, microsoft, google, apple, pixar, etc...? sorry for my rambling, but im just wondering.

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Why do you see them as smart based on the classes they've been in and schools they've been to? Your problem solving abilities should improve over time from programming alone... Unless you happen to be mentally retarded, and incapable of learning anything, you should be fine... Practice really does make perfect.

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Yes. There are plenty of "average" programmers with decent jobs. Don't worry about being in the top 10%. Not everyone can be in the top 10% -- obviously only 10% can be in the top 10%. Find a good job at a decent company in a field that you enjoy and you will do just fine.

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One of my good friends is an "average" programmer as you have described it. He can program, solve problems, but some of the more abstract aspects of design elude him. Fortunately, he knows when he is in over his head, and asks for help. He is unlikely to rise to the elite eschelons of programming demi-godhood, but he does OK for himself. Mostly because he works hard and does what is necessary to get the job done. And being a hard worker, though we loathe to admit it, is way more important than being brilliant.

PS. He is a college graduate. His degree is just as good as any.

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In my experience, I have found that natural talent and stuff like IQ is not the all important factor in real life. Yes some people are just naturally very smart and there will always be people smarter than you are. But what's more important is your ability to produce results. It doesn't matter how "untalented" you are, what matters is if you can get the job done, which often enough doesn't require a "genius" to do. So it doesn't matter that you consider yourself "average". Just work hard and anyone can be successful.

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To add to your initial question...How much do "average" programers make? Someone here mentioned a friend that works hard and is an "average" programer. How much does he make(give or take)?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Genius was 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. -- Thomas Edison

Even if you're completely uninspired, you can still get 99% of the way there.

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. -- Usually attributed to Albert Einstein

Basically, inspiration is 99 percent looking for the information you need.

Thus, at most only 0.01% of genius is natural ability. [grin]

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It bothers me that people think they may never be able to acheive what certain others who were born with a better ability to solve problems, do math, etc, are able to achieve. They weren't born with the knowledge of programming, they didn't know how to solve problems related to programming, i'm sure they have troubles of their own when it comes to programming...

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Moreover, I don't even believe in "talent". How can someone be "talented"? Who do we call "talented"? People who already do whatever they do well. So Ronaldinho is talented. But then all people are born stupid, half-blind and totally oblivious babies. We are born the same (provided we're not mutants or something). So Baby A and Baby B at birth have absolutely same chances of becoming the best footballer in the world or the best programmer in the world.

Talent is simply a posh word for "hard-working". Even 3 year old kids, who do something well, are in fact simply hard-working and passionate about what they do. Then we call them talented. So please don't think you're average. Every person has something to over, every person has his place. You'll work in a good company, making good stuff, just like any other programmer.

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People have different talents and interests. It's called nature and nuture.

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Quote:
Original post by Taralieth
But what's more important is your ability to produce results. It doesn't matter how "untalented" you are, what matters is if you can get the job done, which often enough doesn't require a "genius" to do.
I think this is probably the best advise in this thread.

Usually, it's better to have something done than to do it perfectly, but only do part of it. If you can constantly get the job done, then you're an asset, regardless if you come up with the most elegant solution or not.

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Quote:

there's no absolute fairness. some ppl are just born with high IQ and we can't do anything about it.


That's not absolutely true, we can do something about it. We can sneak into their rooms in the middle of the night and give them a frontal lobotomy :)

But in all seriousness...I consider myself an average programmer and I have done just fine with what I have managed to achieve. You don't have to be the best to be successful.

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regardless of whether or not you can or will be a "great" programmer, yes you can get a job as a moron. Read The Daily WTF. Total dumbasses who have no idea how to program get programming jobs (sometimes they become leads). So yes, you can be successful and not be the elite.

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hi everyone, thanks for the replies. my whole rant started from trying to get a new software engineering job after spending 5yrs at my current company. I see the current market is pretty darn competitive and the 'cool' jobs are taken by the ivy grads or people with serious technical background. Since i got married, got a mortgage, and drive a old rust bucket of a car, i am so motivated to improve my technical skills and understanding. I guess sometimes if you try to rush things, too much information can get overwhelming. I guess i also need to remind myself "nothing worthwhile comes easy". i also picked up a book at borders called something like "heuristics.. something... how to solve problems". I guess i need to reread my math/calc books to understand the algorithms in this book. it seems like a pretty good read...hopefully that may improve my thinking ability or at least impress someone at my next interview.

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By definition most of us here are average. I find it funny that people are saying things like "I have a friend who is average"; incinuating that they themselves are a rockstar. I'd say that average is where you want to fall in. The more important questions are: How productive are you? Can you work independently or do you need a lot of hand holdoing? Do you follow instructions well? Are you dependable? Do you work well with others and communicate well to other? (communication is really #1) Don't stress yourself out, I'm sure you'll do fine.

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Funny that it took 15th replies until someone pointed out that softskills like communication is also important.
I remember that I was once asked by my boss if a fellow student (who applied for a job at this company) would fit into the team. He was not interested about the technical skills of the fellow student but in the person...

A problem might be that some programmers are not willed to educate themself any further after they reached a certain (average) stage and get along in their job with the knowledge they have.

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I've been working in the industry for a few years and w/o question there are plenty of successful "average" programmers.

As mentioned above, word-of-mouth and who you know often go a lot further than your skillset.

Also some people can talk a good game in an interview and land a job, w/o being qualified for a position.

Just my two cents from my small experience.

BennyW

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Don't take this wrong guys. I'm not trying to brag. Now that that is said...
I usually have been one of the "smart" kids through all of school. I graduated early from high school. Since soccer/football was mentioned, I should mention that through my youth, I was never "athletic" at all. I was more technology, video games, computer type child and teenager. Over the last year I've been trying to learn to play soccer/football, and I can tell you that through some practice, I'm getting it. Though I don't have any athletic background whatsoever, I'm getting to be as good as anyone I see at the pick-up games where I play. And most of these guys are Mexicans who have played most of their life. Yeah, lots are better than me, but that is to be expected.

OK, the point to the post is that though I have one type of background and in the other field, I not even average, rather less than average, through work, practice and trials, I've gotten better than average. Programming applies here as well. Mine just happened to be the other way around. Though with my programming it has been the same way. I've gotten much better over time.

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Quote:
Original post by bballmitch
To add to your initial question...How much do "average" programers make? Someone here mentioned a friend that works hard and is an "average" programer. How much does he make(give or take)?


bump this question

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well with a bs in comp sci degree + graduating from a top 10-20 college, you can probably start anywhere from 55-65k at the typical defense contracting company(raytheon, lockheed, etc...)

if you have a masters from a really good school, you can probably start anywhere from 65k-80k at a company like microsoft.


if you are graduating from a small college, community college, etc...you may start around 30k.



Quote:
Original post by bballmitch
Quote:
Original post by bballmitch
To add to your initial question...How much do "average" programers make? Someone here mentioned a friend that works hard and is an "average" programer. How much does he make(give or take)?


bump this question


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Quote:
Original post by baker
well with a bs in comp sci degree + graduating from a top 10-20 college, you can probably start anywhere from 55-65k at the typical defense contracting company(raytheon, lockheed, etc...)

if you have a masters from a really good school, you can probably start anywhere from 65k-80k at a company like microsoft.


if you are graduating from a small college, community college, etc...you may start around 30k.


Could you cite some sources on this?

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Quote:
Original post by baker
well with a bs in comp sci degree + graduating from a top 10-20 college, you can probably start anywhere from 55-65k at the typical defense contracting company(raytheon, lockheed, etc...)

if you have a masters from a really good school, you can probably start anywhere from 65k-80k at a company like microsoft.


if you are graduating from a small college, community college, etc...you may start around 30k.


Can I hire you? [grin]

(your numbers are wildly inaccurate.)

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