Lately I’ve been hearing the word “hacker” more and more, spoken with pure admiration. People seem to romanticize the notion of a start-up entrepenuer hacking away at his product day and night. I entirely agree that an entrepenuer needs a hacker or pirate mentality. She/he needs to be able to learn, adapt, move fast, and react quickly. But when it comes to software development… well, hackers are not such a great fit.
I’ve been working in software development and leadership for more than 20 years and I can tell you that good sofware requires good engineers. I’ve probably reviewed thousands of code files and worked with more than a hundred software developers over the years and if I have choice I always try to avoid hiring cowboys, hackers or “mad scientist” personalities. I prefer excellent, creative, dedicated engineers.
Software is not art, products are art, software is good craftmenship and engineering.