Enough with the rock star labels

I have a fundamental axiom that deals with wisdom and knowledge. In a phrase it’s this:

People that call themselves ‘gurus’ aren’t.

That’s why I can’t believe that I’m seeing more and more job posts that are seeking “rock star” developers.

I revere and envy the best in our business, the ones I see in dozens to hundreds of github projects, who write the blogs and posts that my google searches land on when I go to solve problems, and add to each of them the thousands in their workplaces that aren’t so visible, but are equally as brilliant.

I know first hand that the productivity and talent curve in software developers is a pareto distribution, and a few computational scientists and engineers have transformed human productivity along with (and sometimes in spite of) the rest of us — their colleagues in their field.

Stereotypically the rock stars of my age and just before were incredible artists that became coddled tyrannical adolescent assholes who trashed hotel rooms, trashed equipment, and drank and drugged themselves to death at ages way too young.

And you want to co-opt this term and encourage the ego and hire the developer namesake?

Are you kidding me?

I grant you this, you sure won’t see me advertising for one, and you sure won’t ever see me hire someone that calls themselves a “rock star” developer. Because the best in this business have confidence, ego, talent and wisdom.

At the risk of sounding like the premature old man screaming about the kids on his lawn, the best of the computational scientists and engineers that came before us didn’t call themselves “rock stars”

And the problems that the computational scientists and engineers in my generation and those after mine need to solve are far bigger than this “rock star” bullshit.

So enough with the rock star labels already.