Blog of Rob Galanakis (@robgalanakis)

Why server programmers don’t need ruthlessness

There were some (expected) disagreements to my post about why tech artists need ruthlessness.  Perhaps I can help explain my opinion by providing another one about something I know little enough about to run the risk of mischaracterizations: server programmers, and how they don’t need ruthlessness.

(Please mind the words here- I’m not saying they should NOT have it, just that I don’t think it’s essential)

Server programmers occupy, conceptually, the opposite end of the programmer attribute spectrum from TA’s. They are necessarily highly technical, educated about the lowest levels, always working on highly complex systems, their niche is established, they have a clear area of expertise and control.

This creates a pretty big distance between everyone and server programmers- and this distance allows them to work with more autonomy.  And the autonomy means they don’t have as strong a need for ruthlessness to make decisions.

Tech art overlaps with both Art/Animation and Tools Engineering.  They’re working with specs that are often defined by any other number of parties.  Everyone wants a piece of them but few people understand them (how many times have you heard ‘our server runs automatigically’?).  The core work and decisions of a tech artist is infinitely more scattered than that of a server programmer.

I really should have started with this explanation, as I think it better helps illustrate the causes that require ruthlessness to solve.

So the question to further explore is, how far is the expertise of a tech artist regarding tools from the people using them?  Is it near the same distance as between a server programmer and a user?  A server programmer and an applications programmer?  Something else?

It depends highly on what you consider the job of a tech artist, I think.

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