I was once told by a professor at a prestigious university (paraphrase):

In the average software development workplace, the best programmer is 30 times faster than the worst programmer. So if it takes the office's best programmer one day to write some particular code, it will take that same office's worst programmer an entire month to write the same code. These two programmers will often be making roughly the same salary.

Is this true? Are there any references or studies to corroborate this?

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    Wouldn't surprise me at all if true, although a bit hard to prove. Anyone paying these 2 fictitious programmers the same salary probably wont stay in business too long.
    – Jamiec
    May 13, 2015 at 14:14
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    Define "good" and "bad". Is a programmer that turns out 1000 lines of crap a day better than one who turns out 10 lines of good quality, well-documented, properly tested code?
    – GordonM
    May 15, 2015 at 6:59
  • @GordonM I am talking in terms of variable hours in exchange for equal functionality. Nothing else.
    – Evorlor
    May 15, 2015 at 11:19
  • Time taken depends an awful lot on the difficulty of a problem. Any healthy person can run 100 meters in three times the world record time. Many people cannot climb five meters up a rope in any time. For a hard enough problem, some programmers can do it and some can't. For a simple problem, the ratio should be less extreme.
    – gnasher729
    May 17, 2015 at 18:32


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