10x Engineer

10x Engineer

Updated Sep 24, 2019 at 09:55AM EDT by Y F.

Added Jul 16, 2019 at 02:55PM EDT by Don.

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10x Engineer is an internet slang term referring to a software engineer who is ten times better than their peers, typically in terms of productivity or quality of work.


In January 1968, a paper titled "Exploratory experimental studies comparing online and offline programming performance" by Sackman, Erickson and Grant was published in Communications of the ACM,[2] which presented data showing that the ratio of performance between the worst and best programmers was 10.


On June 25th, 2007, the software engineering blog Haacked[1] published a post titled "10 Developers For the Price of One," which discussed the idea that some software engineers are so much more productive with their time that they are essentially worth the same as 10 other engineers.

On January 8th, 2016, software engineer Erik Bernhardsson published a post about 10x engineers to his personal blog.[4]

On June 2nd, 2018, an article titled "How to Become a 10x Engineer" was published on Medium[3] by user Team Codegiant.

On March 21st, 2019, YouTuber TechLead uploaded a video titled "What is a 10x Engineer (feat. ex-Google Tech Lead)," in which he analyzes the concept of the 10x engineer (shown below).

Shekhar Kirani's Twitter Thread

On July 11th, Twitter user @skirani[5] tweeted a thread about the defining characteristics of 10x engineers (shown below). Within one week, the first tweet in the thread gathered upwards of 4,400 likes and 1,400 retweets.

Shekhar Kirani @skirani 10x engineers Founders if you ever come across this rare breed of engineers, grab them. If you have a 10x engineer as part of your first few engineers, you increase the odds of your startup success significantly. OK, here is a tough question How do you spot a 10x engineer? 9:02 AM Jul 11, 2019 Twitter Web App 1.4K Retweets 4.4K Likes Shekhar Kirani @skirani Jul 11 Replying to @skirani 1. 10x engineers hate meetings. They think it is a waste of time and obvious things are being discussed. They attend meetings because the manager has called for a "Staff meeting" to discuss the features and status t 70 54 664 Shekhar Kirani @skirani Jul 11 2. Timings in the office for 10x engineers is highly irregular. They tend to work when very few folks are around. If there is a crowd or all-hands meeting, they are not visible. Most of them are late-night coders and come late to the office. t51 35 598 Shekhar Kirani @skirani Jul 11 3. 10x engineers laptop screen background color is typically black (they always change defaults). Their keyboard keys such as i, f, x are usually worn out than of a, s, and e (email senders). t56 145 503 Shekhar Kirani @skirani Jul 11 4. 10x engineers know every line of the code that has gone into production. If a QA or support folks alert an issue, they know precisely where the fault (or bug) is and can fix the same in hours vs days 49 42 469

In the coming days, numerous Twitter users tweeted jokes about the concept of the 10x engineer (shown below).

Daniel Martín @dmartincy Rare photograph of a 10x engineer in action. 5:33 PM Jul 13, 2019 Twitter for iPhone Abdulhadi Hallak @hadi_hlk Actual photo of a 10x engineer 4:36 PM Jul 14, 2019 Twitter Web App

On July 13th, Twitter user Cassidy Williams tweeted a comedy video titled "Life as a 10x engineer" (shown below). Within five days, the video accumulated more than 264,000 views, 7,700 likes and 1.400 retweets.

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Realistically even if they did exist, employers won't pay 10x the salary for them, nor will they bother creating an environment where new developers will reach 10x level because then they'd have to pay more to hold onto them.

But I can't wait for it to show up on job listings as a title or a must have skill only for it to go unfilled and the hiring manger just hires a relative or they get a visa worker.


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