The Eight Levels of Programmers

My favourite coding related blog is and have for a long time been I recently stumbled upon one of his old posts “The Eight Levels of Programmers”.

This post is simple, yet managed to make something tick for me. I love programming and I love creating and running businesses. I’ve been incredibly lucky to live in a time and place where doing both at once is both possible and valuable. But it creates an internal struggle, which skill set should you focus on developing?

The simple descriptions of “Dead- and Successful Programmers” made it clear that I don’t identify with that vision. I could see my self starting a business like that of Basecamp, but I’m probably not gonna write the next equivalent of rails.

I’m a “Working Programmer” and I love engineering, but interestingly enough what clicked for me is the “Average Programmer”.

Average Programmer At this level you are a good enough programmer to realize that you’re not a great programmer. And you might never be.

Talent often has little do do with success. You can be very successful if you have business and people skills.

I freaking love programming, however my differentiator is not that I will go on to release white papers for Goolge. It’s the fact that I’m equally in love with product development and business. For me optimising for using my business skills over pure engineering is the right way to go.

That being said, I just spent two years building a business and I think I will mostly spend the next two focusing solely on engineering.

I recommend to everyone to think about the industry you work in on a regular basis and reevaluate your assumptions about where you fit in.