Have you heard about the 10X developer?
A 10x developer is an individual who is thought to be as productive as 10 others in his or her field. The 10x developer would produce 10 times the outcomes of other colleagues, in a production, engineering or software design environment. -Technopedia
Now I have always been a developer that can get much more done than my peers. However I don't think I'm "better" than them or that I am more "accomplished". I do think that I absolutely love being a developer and that writing software is all I do. I write code for my job, to relax, and just to have fun. This means I have spent a lot of time honing my craft and this allows me to produce really high quality software very quickly.
Now do I think I'm a 10X developer? I'm not sure because the moment you label yourself as a 10X people tend to respond negatively. Oh you think you are some kind of hot shot, huh?
The idea of a 10x developer or engineer has led to a lot of debate about whether such a type of person could exist. Some point to the subjective nature of code and engineering outcomes. Some show how writing code and developing software focuses on creative problems, so that, in theory, someone could do ten times the work of someone else. The debate raises a lot of interesting points about the skill sets of developers and programmers, and what really goes into these types of jobs. -Technopedia
I found this twitter post from Lukas Eder @lukaseder that summarized really well what I'm been feeling but struggled to put into words. Here is the original link.
There had been a lot of talk about "10x engineers" on Twitter, in the recent past. Some voices went as far as hinting at "10x engineers" being bad for teams / businesses. Those people obviously go way too far. I think the discussion should be much more nuanced. Here's my take.
Most people are average by definition. Most people, however, are really good at *something*. And there are some people who are plain simply excellent at *something*. Their excellency may go as far as being 10x as productive as the average. Sounds great! So what's the problem?
Working with someone 10x as good as ourselves can be equally inspiring as it can be frustrating. They're great and make the work they do look much more interesting. Quite possibly, we can learn a lot from them as well. But they're also much much better, and we might never be as good as them, and that can be frustrating, because unreachable goals are frustrating. But wait! When did we make it our goal to be as good as them? An analogy (risking the application of [Lukas's Law of Analogies](https://twitter.com/lukaseder/status/880003993946251265)
Every analogy will inevitably encourage bikeshedding the analogy's inappropriateness rather than support the idea. [link](https://twitter.com/simonbrown/status/879982057987989504)
I play the piano. One of my childhood friends is a professional piano player today and he's really really good. We once used to be at a comparable level as small kids. He keeps flattering me, telling me I was better at the time, which is nonsense ;) While I could hide behind the excuse that I didn't choose the professional piano player career path, I simply believe I will never be as good as him. I still play the piano occasionally, and there are many things I simply can't hammer into my head / hands. That doesn't frustrate me, because:
1) I don't have to be good at the piano. It's just a hobby, for me.
2) I don't play with him these days, so I don't have to compare myself to him directly.
Yes, 10x engineers are much more difficult to put in teams, if they can't elevate everyone else to their levels, and mostly they cannot. And that can be OK, because there's always a way to organise the teams in a way to make them work with either.
1) Other 10x engineers.
2) isolated projects where they don't have too much of a team.
There's always work in every organisation that can be done by someone excellent, alone. The main point of this discussion should be:
10x engineers are people too, and they (like everyone else) need an environment that helps them be great as well. Everyone has their own special needs, and managers' jobs is to understand each person individually.
Levelling the team to the average and excluding the "10x-ers" because it's more difficult to integrate them is simply wasteful and unfair. If you have one, use them to the best of their potential. Just like everyone else on the team. Maybe, someone is a 4x requirements engineer. Someone else is a 7x QA engineer.
Someone is a 3.0000000000000004x floating point engineer. And some are so lucky to be good at almost everything they touch. Simply remember, if they're not also a 10x teaching or team engineer, don't make them be. Leave them to their solo performance. Like a piano player.
So, be a 10x manager and get the best out of *every* one of your employees by responding to their needs.
- Lukas Eder @lukaseder
I'd like to offer up one more idea of what to do with your 10X developers. If that 10X developer can lead and wants to lead then turn them loose. Give them a team, let them run with that team! I promise that if that person is anything like me you will be very happy you did. You'll be amazed at what your team will accomplish. Now I didn't say it would be easy. I also didn't say it wouldn't come with some headaches and maybe even some heartaches. In the end you'll have a team that will perform in ways you could have never imagined.
I guess after all this... I am a 10X developer and it's not a bad thing. Sure they'll be people that won't understand and may even label you as arrogant or elitist.
Remember, what people think of you does not change the truth about who you are.
Be a 10X developer but also stay humble. Rock it, you love development and you're really good at it! Don't slow down! Continue to become that freakin awesome developer than you know you are and continue to level up.
I really want to thank Lukas Eder for allowing me to share this with the world and I hope this helps some other 10X developers that may be struggle with the idea of "Am I a 10X developer?".
Rock on and Become EPIC!