As a programmer, how do you know if you're a good one or not?

Recently Hacker News featured an “ASK HN” submission titled “As a programmer, how do you know if you’re a good one or not?” Striking me as an interesting question, as this personal measurement is something I often consider myself, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a number of the responses I found most helpful in the hope they can help you as well:

bb88 - “…you know you’re effective when:

  • You’re asked for help often.
  • You’re the go to person by the boss.
  • You’re often asked for your opinion for engineering decisions.
  • Your opinion holds weight with others.”

smilesnd - “Programming is a craft once you reach a certain level their is no checklist or metric that can be used to measure you ability. Only experience and battle scars tell how good you might be when solving the next problem. Only ever measure yourself against yourself. As long as you make sure you are a better programmer today then yesterday then you have nothing to worry about.”

pmoriarty - “If you can manage to stay interested in what you’re doing, you’re going to learn and improve over time. If you lose the passion, and get bored with what you do, you’re not going to care, and that’s a worse fate than even staying still skill-wise. It’s a very common fate for those who have to work at this 8 (or likely more) hours a day, nearly every day of the week for years or decades.

So I’d just try to keep the flame alive, focus on always doing what you genuinely enjoy, and not sweat the rest.”