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Discussion on: Can anyone become a developer?

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John Colagioia

I've come to look at this from two perspectives.

First, almost all of us go through school learning to write, paint, play soccer, speak a foreign language, and probably a bunch of other things I've forgotten in many years out of school. We can all do those things, but few of us actually do.

Similarly, look at driving. Most of us can drive, if we're in a certain range. We need some minimum capability and minimal training and people let us barrel down the road in a cartoonishly dangerous device. But few of us are earning a living as cabbies, bus drivers, or truckers, because the work of driving--the frustration and drudgery of doing that work all day every day for forty years--isn't appealing.

It's the same with programming. Almost anybody can do it (probably really anybody, but I suppose there's probably some obscure chronic brain condition or other that would make the work impossible), but it takes a special kind of person to enjoy an environment where you're always either failing or transitioning to the next task to fail at. The "talent" is just being willing to stick with it.