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Discussion on: Three unusual qualities we look for to hire amazing developers

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entomy profile image
Patrick Kelly

I get what you're trying to say, and I think it's great. I think the only reason why I see a contradiction here at all is I have a psych and medical background and program as a hobby.

Eagle eyed attention to detail is something you're going to get out of autism or people with a higher degree of autistic traits, which invariably contradicts clear expression in many areas. I can say even from personal experience, explanations of things tends to be either way too succinct, or also soap-box style or improvisational deep dives into subjects.

The other way you can get sharp attention to detail, especially in the more logical processes expected in software development, is through a trait/symptom called alexithymia, which given how common it is with PTSD, ADHD, anorexia, bulemia, autism, and traumatic brain injury, and how alexithymia works in general, highly positive thinking is contradicted. Furthermore, the very nature of alexithymia impedes clear expression of emotion.

Someone without either of these is going to think much more generally, and less detailed.

Finding these things in the same person is unlikely. I think you'll find better luck having a mixed staff with these traits that work well together.

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dglsparsons profile image
Douglas Parsons Author

Hey, Thanks for the response. You raise some super interesting points.

I think you tread a slightly tricky line though - while it's true that autism can lead to obsessive attention to detail, I don't think taking care in your work and paying attention to detail is necessarily a sign of autistic behaviour.

You're absolutely spot on saying that finding the combination of qualities is unlikely. I think that's a big part of what makes hiring so difficult though.

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entomy profile image
Patrick Kelly

I don't think taking care in your work and paying attention to detail is necessarily a sign of autistic behaviour.

Right, it's much more than just that.

Best of luck, however you go about it.