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There's one difference though. Unlike product designers, software engineers will never be in the spotlights. Not at Apple, anyway.

E.g. tell me how many times you've read an article about Jony Ive versus about an important software engineer at Apple.




At Apple? Maybe not. But elsewhere?

Maybe no articles written about them but books or chapters ([0], [1]) written by them.

In the spotlight? You betcha, i think watching talks by Brian Cantrill is highly entertaining. Rich Rickeys' talks are highly regarded on HN (making a mental note to watch them). Carmack talking at Quakecon for hours about many different things.

(edit) formatting and links

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Coders-Work-Reflections-Craft-Program...

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Masterminds-Programming-Conversations...


> At Apple? Maybe not.

Chris Lattner (inventor of LLVM and Swift) was pretty prominent when he was at Apple. He got stage time during at least one keynote and was well known in the macOS/iOS community. Not to mention that their engineering leads in general get to present their work every year to the devs who will be using it during the WWDC sessions.


Glad to be proven wrong! Learned some iOS development years ago but are out of touch what is happening in the appleverse at large, no snark intended.


The most recent SWE in the mainstream spotlight I can think of was Notch, the author of Minecraft. I don't know if the engineering is super-noteworthy, but it was good enough to make a very valuable product in a short time with few people.


John Carmack?


They did say "at Apple".

But Carmack is from a generation where developers were often still working on something on their own.

I do see a shift to a model where developers are viewed more as a commodity and less as artists. In a "just throw more developers at the problem" kind of way.


It feels like the trend right now is that developers are more expensive than managers. So if they’re a commodity, it’s the most precious kind. If the power dynamic keeps shifting that way though, I bet we’ll see some more like artists and less like cogs in the machine. Maybe not so much artists and more like other professionals.


Unfortunately, having a unique ability is no guarantee for not being treated like dirt, history tells us. E.g. look at how women have been treated historically up to recently.


"Shift"?

It's been around long enough that seminar works on management calling the practice out are disregarded by some as outdated just by age


Everybody wants to commoditize their complement. This includes managers.




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