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Average Engineer Vs 10x Engineer: Unveiling the Extraordinary

Picture of Aditya Vandhye

Aditya Vandhye

3 min read


In the world of technology, there are average engineers, and then there are the legendary 10x engineers. The latter, often considered the unicorns of the industry, can deliver results equivalent to the work of ten ordinary developers. Their stories are nothing short of awe-inspiring, and in this blog, we will uncover what sets them apart.

The concept of the 10x software developer dates back to “Exploratory experimental studies comparing online and offline programming performance”, (Sackman, Erickson, and Grant), a research paper published in Communications of the ACM in January 1968.

Comparing a 10x engineer and an average engineer is like comparing Picasso with street painters!

The 10x Engineer: A Force of Nature

A 10x engineer is not merely a term; it’s a testament to exceptional skill and efficiency. Here’s what differentiates them from the rest:

Do 10x engineers deliver the work of 10 Devs?

The term “10x engineer” signifies their incredible productivity. These extraordinary individuals have the unique ability to deliver results that would typically require the combined effort of ten developers. But that doesn’t make them superhuman!

10x just signifies their attention to detail and their extraordinary ownership!

Efficiency Leads to Usual Work Hours

Their efficiency is their superpower. This efficiency typically comes from the microscopic planning these guys are super obsessed with! While an average engineer might need long hours because of poor planning to complete a task, a 10x engineer accomplishes the same with grace, often working regular hours and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Analytical Skills and Logical Thinking

They possess an analytical prowess that’s second to none. Their logical thinking allows them to dissect complex problems, identify elegant solutions, and execute them flawlessly.

Foreseeing Future Perspectives

10x engineers have the uncanny ability to visualize the future implications of their tasks. They also try to visualise how a certain product or feature can potentially evolve in future! All this because they love what they are doing and they end up attaching their ego to their art! This forward-thinking approach results in solutions that stand the test of time.

Insatiable Curiosity

Curiosity fuels their drive to explore new technologies and tackle challenges head-on. They’re lifelong learners who continually seek to expand their knowledge and skills.

A Product Mindset

These engineers don’t merely write code; they take ownership of the entire product. Their work isn’t about lines of code; it’s about accountability, impact, and excellence.


Let’s drive inspiration from some mind-boggling 10x Engineer stories!

#1 — The Python Maestro

In 2013, at Flipkart, a programmer with a Java background embarked on a remarkable journey. He picked up a critical piece of code and transformed it into Python. This single act of innovation led to substantial performance improvements, changing the game at Flipkart.

#2 — The Warp-Speed Gamers

In 2017, a group of individuals hailing from average colleges took on the colossal task of building a gaming platform. A project that typically spans over a year was completed in just 4–5 months. Their extraordinary efficiency left everyone astounded.

#3 — WhatsApp’s Lean Dream Team

WhatsApp managed its entire tech infrastructure with a modest team of 30–40 engineers before being acquired by Meta. This lean and highly proficient group proved that exceptional results don’t always require an army.


The Hiring Dilemma — Avg Engineer or 10x Engineer

So, what should companies do? Should they hire ten average engineers or invest in one 10x engineer? It’s a question that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. The decision depends on the project, its scope, and the company’s goals. While the firepower of a 10x engineer can be a game-changer for smaller, high-impact projects, larger teams of skilled individuals might be more appropriate for massive undertakings.

Is the salary also 10x that of average engineers?

It’s no surprise that the salary of a 10x engineer significantly surpasses that of an average engineer. The gap is not arbitrary; it’s a reflection of the extraordinary mindset and contributions of these exceptional individuals. Their work is about quality, efficiency, and results, and companies are willing to pay a premium for that level of excellence.

In conclusion, the journey from an average engineer to a 10x engineer is marked by mindset, skills, and an unyielding commitment to excellence. Their impact, whether through innovation, efficiency, or foresight, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The technology world thrives on their brilliance, and their stories continue to inspire the next generation of tech enthusiasts and professionals.

On a different note, 😂

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