Do you believe excellent programming ability is innate?

Google / Eng leLh58
Jul 10 31 Comments

Basic programming skills can even be taught to children using languages like scratch and I believe everyone can learn the basics to do many tasks like automating simple things.

However things get harder. There are some people who can easily solve LC hard as competitive programmers while they're still teenagers who didn't even enter college. While you might be struggling for days with that problem and you'll probably never solve it in your life without hints.

Linus implemented the Linux kernel on his own when he was very young and wrote git in a weekend. His elegant deleting a node in a linked list solution using double pointers is something you might have never even thought was possible. No matter how much leetcode and practice you have you will never be anything compared to Linus, a genius. You can write as many design docs as you like and demonstrate complexity and get promoted to L6. But you will never be anywhere near Linus unless you had that talent.

The other day on hackernews I saw someone who livestreamed coding a vi like editor in a day. I don't even know how to manipulate a screen buffer.

You will never be a Donald Knuth no matter how much leetcucking you do.

Given all these talented people how much of excellent programming skill do you feel is innate? I've long accepted I'm low-level trash who can only do mediocre coding that is valuable to the company, but not difficult and I can only hope to study the work of these geniuses and learn from them.

Seems like a joke how people think people on FAANG are so smart when with the exception of a few key people in every team they've got nothing on the real gods of programming.

94 VOTES SELECT ONLY ONE ANSWER
VOTE VIEW RESULT

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 31 Comments
  • Oath Atinlay2
    Anyone can learn anything
    Jul 10 7
    • Google / Eng leLh58
      OP
      You really think implementing a html parser, JavaScript engine and rendering technology all by yourself can be done by anyone with motivation?
      Jul 10
    • Oath Atinlay2
      Sure! I also think you’re fooling yourself into thinking this stuff is harder than it is.
      Jul 10
    • Marqeta GskP9jqS
      It absolutely can be done by anyone with motivation. Are you trolling? Basic CS can be learned on your own if you have grit, time and a good enough curriculum such as:
      https://teachyourselfcs.com/
      Jul 10
    • Google / Eng C.Louda
      The question is about exceptional programming. The op covers basic programming.
      Jul 10
    • Marqeta GskP9jqS
      The web browser example sounds pretty basic to me and that’s what I’m referring to. You can make good contributions to the field even if you are not a “genius”. You Just need to go where it’s not that sexy and crowded. I.e. database research.
      Jul 10
  • Google FatEarther
    Writing short posts is though.
    Jul 10 0
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    Most people on blind would claim they have higher TC than every genius you mentioned
    Jul 10 8
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      Six figure is 100k - that’s easy to make in USA anywhere. Over 200k gets tricky
      Jul 10
    • Google / Eng leLh58
      OP
      You might be right but still disproportionate. You make Linux or git at Google you'd be VP/Google Fellow with that level of salary.
      Jul 10
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      I doubt that Linus would be making less than 1mln anywhere. His skills are special, and very few companies need him, but those who do would compensate him generously. The size of the codebase his maintaining is astonishing
      Jul 10
    • VMware herathakur
      They created Linux foundation just to hire and pay Linus and other top Linux developers and he do get paid in millions now, but initially he didn't made this much. He briefly worked in Silicon Valley too.
      Jul 10
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      He worked for a very interesting startup. They were trying to launch a different kind of CPU with very long instruction set. That yhing flopped
      Jul 11
  • Bloomberg FlightRisk
    Does it really matter if I can solve all of my interview questions and still get rejected because some post-millennial douche with 2yoe (vs my 9) didn’t like me?
    Jul 10 2
    • Google / Eng leLh58
      OP
      That's the sad part. You work at one of the greatest financial companies on the planet with C++ gods and top tier HFT experts. Meanwhile some leetcuck chooses arbitrary questions and expects you to solve in one hour. Even if you solve it is upto them.
      Jul 10
    • New / R&D rejectme
      But you are not one of those people soooo
      Aug 3
  • Microsoft / Eng FreshPrinc
    You can be a D1 basketball player that’s better at basketball than 99.9999% of the world but you’re garbage compared to Lebron.

    Doesn’t mean you aren’t still a really good basketball player. Buck up there sport.
    Jul 10 1
    • Google / Eng C.Louda
      Nice analogy!
      Jul 10
  • New / R&D qagR71
    The people that got good at anything are good because they enjoyed the thing they're good at so they did it a ton. (Or they just power through something they tolerate) You're not born good at anything, I've never seen a newborn that can even make a variable, it's pathetic honestly. I am better than any child.
    Jul 10 0
  • Apple sikit
    So many psychologists ITT
    Jul 10 0
  • New / Finance fObo28
    " whether you think you can, or think you can't- you're right"

    -Henry Ford

    You say that you've accepted being low-level trash and you're mediocre at what you do. It doesn't matter how much talent you have or dont have...that kind of mindset will always hold you back from your true potential
    Jul 10 3
    • Google / Eng leLh58
      OP
      Yes a defeatist attitude will harm you but it still won't compensate for talent.
      Jul 10
    • New / Finance fObo28
      True, and no amount of talent will compensate for a defeatist attitude, it goes both ways.
      Jul 10
    • New / Finance fObo28
      Also I think talent is overrated. You might say someone is more "talented" then you are, but you dont know what kind if work they put it in behind the scenes to get where they are. Talent can be used as an excuse to accept your perceived inferiority. "He/she is more talented than I am, so it's ok that I'm not as good". Sorry, I just dont operate that way. Hard work, determination, and th sheer will to succeed plus a positive mindset beats "talent". Of course, just my humble opinion :)
      Jul 10
  • Clover Health sses
    Nothing is entirely innate.
    Jul 10 0
  • Google / Eng OmgS48
    Working on core system programming projects can be quite frustrating if you don't have the necessary background. IMHO the main reason is - to debug issues you first need to know what to look for. This is learnt over years and you keep learning something new everyday.

    To get initiated, you can try doing a 20% project (at Google) with teams who do systems programming. This will teach you the necessary skills and you will get to know people whom you can ask questions. We have quite a few Linux maintainers at Google who might have some projects that you can work on. Sure they aren't Linus but they are still quite good. You can also look at the Akaros kernel. The maintainer works at Google. He might have some 20% options.

    Note: Systems people are generally quite knowledgeable. However their projects will not directly make money for the company and so promos can be a tuff.
    Jul 10 0