A colleague from New Zealand once was telling me about a type of coffee that was originated there. It's called Flat White Coffee. We were discussing about the difference between this coffee and all the other types of coffee with milk. Eventually we started talking about the quality of the drink and what makes it be better or worse. He mentioned that, of course, the quality of the beans and milk are very important for a good coffee but what makes a good coffee an excellent coffee is the barista's ability.
What makes a coffee to be a rubbish coffee then? If the coffee grains are rubbish, you will have a rubbish coffee. However, for a flat white coffee, coffee is just one variable in the equation. There are other variables like how the grains are roasted, steaming the milk at the right temperature, not adding sugar, how the milk is poured, the microfoam on top of the drink, etc. See the distinction from cafe con leche for details. Anyway, the point is, a rubbish (or careless) barista, with rubbish coffee will produce a rubbish coffee drink.
Now imagine that you are the barista. But instead of coffee, you produce code. Imagine that the the coffee grains, milk and coffee machine are the tools you use to produce your code like the computer language, the IDE, the database, etc. Instead of serving coffee for your customers, you are producing software that will be used by your team mates, project sponsors, the company they (or you) work for, external clients, etc.
Like in the flat white coffee example above, of course that the tools we use are very important when producing a good software. However, more importantly, it is the quality of the software engineers that counts. A good barista can make a good coffee even when using average coffee grains, due to his or her ability to combine ingredients and prepare the drink. A bad barista can ruin the coffee even if he or she is using the best quality coffee beans. The biggest difference between the two baristas is how much they care about each cup of flat white coffee they prepare. Their pride and willingness to achieve the best pattern on top of each drink. The great feeling of achievement when they produce a great one. The happiness to see returning customers, queuing and waiting their turn to order the coffee that he, skilfully, prepares.
So, which type of barista are you?