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high-impact developers


What makes a developer have high impact?

Is it having some niche knowledge that no one else has? Is it putting in the most pull requests? Is it having the most years of experience? Is it changing the most lines of code in the codebase?

In my experience these help, and can be indicators of high impact, but they aren't the most crucial attribute of being "high-impact".

The most important skill of a high-impact developer is being able to identify and solve the most important business problems.

This is a skill that is hard to teach, and hard to learn.

It requires a deep understanding of the:

A developer could work 100 hours a week, solve the most technically interesting bugs, put in the most pull requests, increase code coverage of tests by 30%, etc, but if they aren't solving the most important business problems, it ultimately doesn't matter.

This is what separates the mediocore developers from the exceptional developers. The exceptional are the ones that can look at the big picture of the team within the business context and can leverage a high amount of skill at the right moment tackling the right project successfully.