We have all worked with star developers. When I come into a client to mentor, occasionally they have one developer who is just a star. I can pretty much spot them in the first half hour these days. Other times they have a developer who would say "I am a star" but who wouldn't get that designation from me. Tim Stall has a nice list of things that make a developer a star. As I went through the list I was thinking "yes! yes!" and finally "hire! hire!" which is also what happens when I meet real stars. (Don't worry, I have never poached a dev from a client and never would, but "would you hire this person" is still an incredibly useful summary of someone's skills.) I especially like "22. Knows when the rules do not apply". It can't be taught, and dear heaven can people get this one wrong. When you meet someone who gets this right, it is such a relief.
The list doesn't tell you how to become that sort of person, but I am quite sure the rest of the Internet has some hints. So will I if I meet you in a mentoring context.
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