the phone assessment the other day.
I'm not actually sure what the right (autistic) answer is supposed to be. I also don't know what my answer is.
When I was a programmer (a very successful, rapidly promoted and highly rewarded programmer) I was only good once I'd absorbed the entirety of the system I was working with. I was fortunate - I joined the development team during a smallish phase of development. The next phase was big, and I took the high level documentation home and read it.
And read it. And read it again. And drew diagrams (object heirarchies), and underlined bits, and took it back into the office and somewhat diffidently, given that I was a beginner, lowest of the low, not even on the proper programming grade, asked about some of the bits that didn't seem to tie together with what I understood of the system as it existed.
It turned out that the new features were going to require a fairly comprehensive redesign of the system as it stood, with some quite extensive new programming. Which wasn't obvious from the outside, so hadn't been flagged up by the analysts, and none of the senior programmers had looked at the analysis documents yet, as they were busy working on the previous phase.
So, is that small details or big picture? I can hold the big picture in my head. I knew my way around that system blindfold. But I have to be able to understand it to do it. And to understand it I take it apart, right the way down to individual code snippets at times.
I did exactly the same when I moved to a new company and a new system.
It made me slightly unpopular at times :/
But once I was in the support department, heading up the java team, I came into my own again, because understanding the system lets you zero in on the details that might be causing you problems. And once I understand the system, I find that easy to do in a way few people seem to. I've joked before now that I think in objects - it's a good way to split things up.
Now if only I could do that with my life I'd be sorted. But I can't. And don't think I haven't tried.