Generation X groups together those people who were born in the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s, succeeding their Baby Boomer parents and preceding the Millennials. We can discuss all manner of individual traits and characters every individual should actually be encouraged to try and let shine through, but generally speaking the generalisations made about these demographic groups are quite accurate. With a tech-inclined approach, of course, we’re going to be exploring one of the more positive of these many generalisations, which is that of why Gen Xers make for the best programmers.
High work ethic
Despite what their parents may think of them, Gen Xers appear to have had a higher work ethic than the Baby Boomers they succeed. The hippie culture and everything to go with that can be associated more with the Baby Boomers than the Gen Xers and to a certain extent the Baby Boomers enjoyed what was somewhat of a period of some economic abundance, following the Great Depression and the subsequent economic recovery and colossal growth.
Gen Xers were pretty much told that they could be anything they wanted to be, provided they put in the hard work to match that desire and so that’s exactly what they did. In the process they sought to change the world, with the introduction and widespread adoption of consumer computing ushering in a new breed of hard workers who had the foresight to envision a new world that is dominated by computers.
You pair the trait of being a hard worker with a career such as computer programming and you have a winning formula!
Tech transitional experience
Gen Xers transitioned into adulthood at just the right time when it comes to a consideration of a career in computer programming. They make for great programmers to this day though because of the transitional experience they garnered. Gen Xers participated in many of the events which shape all the technology we use today and so they have a solid foundation of the underlying core principles of Computer Science in general.
So for a programmer who is from Generation X, when they form part of a modern-day development team working on something like a mobile phone app (which didn’t exist in their days), they focus more on building a solid core codebase that is technically sound and actually works well as opposed to focussing more on the front-facing user interface and the potentially colossal sums of money to go with.
Some practical examples
To put all of this into a bit of practical perspective, the Bill Gates cameo (although it wasn’t actually Bill Gates) in the movie, The Social Network, has the character explaining how “back then” there were very limited memory resources to work with and we’re talking here mere kilobytes. Gen X programmers have the experience of those mean days to draw on, when resources such as processing power and memory posed a direct challenge to any application they would be working on and so today they apply some clever resource allocation to their programming approach.