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?
I'm not a musician. ↩