Your days aren't numbered4/5/2009
Neil Mcallister says our days of rote coding are over. He seems to say that instead of actually producing something, we should focus on guiding a project and, well, just talking to people.
That makes little sense to me. If you're a coder, programmer or developer -- whatever you want to call yourself -- your primary function is to code.
We talk a lot about what makes a great developer. So-and-so is thorough, he uses tabs not spaces, she runs Linux. We ruminate on the best tools, debate how much knowledge a great developer must have or the best languages. We'll even get into debates on the best office chair or the relative merits of office layouts.
We do this not because we're all that interested in the correct size of a cubicle. We're interested because having a big enough monitor or desk makes us better at writing code.
Focusing too much on one skill would be like GM deciding that wheels are such an integral part of it's product that they're becoming a wheel company. After all, nothing works without the wheels.
Communication skills are great, don't get me wrong. I've dealt with plenty of people who'd fail basic English or typing tests. Their lack of communication skill certainly impeded their code, but it's still a wheel skill. You can't be a successful developer just by talking.
His examples make little sense, either. He actually compares software development to a secretarial skill. You know, like typing a letter. That's a hopelessly flawed argument. After all, while my bosses do write their own email, I have little fear that they'll ever start writing their own programs.