A Work in Progress


Don't be a 10x developer

Be a force multiplier

CloudHealth is growing really fast and on the engineering team we have reached the size where we are starting to bring in more junior developers. For us this means developers who have great talent and ability but are just out of school or recently out of school. I like to say that these girls and guys have horsepower.

Junior developers are not a blank slate, but they are about as close as you get in our industry. This means that as an organization we have an opportunity (an obligation even) to help these developers become great. I was extremely fortunate to have a number of incredible mentors during my formative years as a professional software engineer. To pay this forward I strive to be a great mentor to any junior engineers I work with.

There is some research that indicates that the most productive developers are 10x more productive than their average counterparts (see The 10x Developer is NOT a myth for some context and one opinion on the matter.)

Whether you believe in the 10x developer or not, I believe that there is an even more important trait to strive for and develop in other software engineers.

According to Wikipedia a force multiplier is “a factor that dramatically increases (hence “multiplies”) the effectiveness of an item or group.” Leaders and senior members of an engineering team have a duty to help other team members become better and be more effective. They should act as force multipliers for the engineering organization.

A developer who makes everyone around him better is even more valuable than a single developer who is much better than all the others. If you hire well I believe that this is a more scalable approach to building a great engineer team as well.

Am I a 10x developer? Probably not. At this point in my career thats not as important to me as being a force multiplier.

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