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In Chapter 33, Personal Character of Code Complete (Second ed.) McConnell cites some studies such as those listed below in support of the assertion that 10-1 improvement is possible from efforts in improving our programming as a result of personal determination to improve.

  • Sackman, Erikson, and Grant 1968;
  • Curtis 1981; Mills 1983;
  • DeMarco and Lister 1985;
  • Curtis et al. 1986;
  • Card 1987;
  • Valett and McGarry 1989

As you can see from the list above, these studies are quite dated. Have more recent studies been conducted that studied potential for improvement in programming efficacy? How do the findings compare to McConnell's research? What have these studies revealed about the progress modern methods and tools had in our ability to program?

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Well if Myers Briggs is any indicator I'm convinced an INTP rating will make you a programming god. –  Erik Reppen Mar 9 '13 at 3:54

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would try to explain how it is I can be a programming genius in spite of having none the traits listed in this 1998 study but I hear a video game calling and I'm sick and tired of explaining myself to you people!

Laziness, Impatience, Hubris: Personality Traits of a Great Programmer by John E. Bentley

Not every one can be a great computer programmer. Many don’t really have the desire, some lack a higher-level technical aptitude, and still others don’t have the personality needed to be great. Wait, you say. What’s personality got to do with it? Well, most programmers don’t have a colleague who isn’t intelligent enough to do the work, but most do know someone who isn’t exactly temperamentally suited to the job. To help explain the impact of personality on success as a programmer, this paper will present some of the traits that can be indicators of professional success or failure in the field. For one, a sense of humor is important because the computer “doth make fools of us all”...

Also, complete coincidence, (I found it after my comment above), Myers Briggs ratings. Not much on tools unfortunately and more of a paper than a study but lots of references within to more recent stuff.

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This is a fantastic paper. Although newer studies are referenced, it really expands on McConnell's references, most significantly the Weinberg 1998 study. Love your witty response. This is an excellent resource for my research. I still hope to find additional research. This paper gave me a very good start. –  MauMen Mar 10 '13 at 3:10

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