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Programming, philosophy, pedaling.


A Programmer's Programmer

Oct 3, 2017

Tags: programming

During a recent trip, a friend of mine (a musician) decided to play some music on the car’s stereo.

The playlist began with songs that I recognized (either by name or in style), but quickly took a turn for the exotic: unusual time signatures, elaborate analog recordings disguised as synth samples, &c.1

I asked my friend what we were listening to, and he told me that it was a set of songs written by a saxophonist with a formal education in jazz. My friend explained that, as a musician, he appreciated the technical and creative complexity of the songs. In other words, the composer was a musician’s musician.

The concept of a profession’s professional is not unique to music — I’ve heard it applied to comedians, architects, and authors in conversation as well. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to extend such an idea to every profession.

Here’s a stab at a definition:

A profession’s professional is an individual whose craftmanship or talent is uniquely or especially appreciable by others of the same profession.

So, what does a programmer’s programmer look like?

Who is a programmer’s programmer?

Is a programmer’s programmer a good programmer by normal standards (e.g., code quality), or does appreciation for them come from something else?

  1. I’m not a musician.