Recently I've been wondering who are the most popular role models in the software development industry. Just as with any other profession, it's important for developers to have role models. What I'd like to capture in this article, and through your comments, is which personalities are admired most in the industry. To kick things off, I'll share my own role models with you.
Any Java developer is bound to have James Gosling on their list of role models. Having left Oracle, a lot of people will be interested to see what he does next. But looking back on his career to date, he's done enough: a lot more than most of us could aspire to.
OK, Steve Jobs gets a hard time for his closed approach to development. But as a businessman and strategist, I can't think of anyone better. Under his direction, Apple has given the software industry the kickstart it needed. The app-economy is purely down to Apple and the iPhone. I really respect his drive and ambition. Some will say he's too controlling, but I don't think that it's necessarily a bad thing. This commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford is one of the most inspirational talks I've ever heard.
In Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development, released back in 2002, Rod Johnson outlined what was wrong with Java EE, and went one step futher by defining a framework that would solve these issues. 8 years later, his company, SpringSource has become one of the most significant players in the Java development space. And SpringSource keeps getting bigger and bigger, making frequent acquisitions as part of VMWare.
You have to admire that Johnson didn't just complain about enterprise Java, but that he brought about a solution that he believed in, and continued to make it a successful company. Spring has been one of the most important parts of the Java landscape in the past decade, encouraging simplicity in place of overengineering.
Now that you've seen a few of my choices, leave a comment here to share your list with us. Next week, I will compile a list of the most frequently mentioned personalities from the comments section.