Nice article from Jay Fields about the difference between a head-down, crank-out-whatever-I’m-asked-for hacker and a wiser developer who thinks to ask the business about the overall value and reason for the work.
I have seen this very strongly in my work.
However, and this is one of my pet rants, a major part of the problem is the education system. I have studied with a variety of organisations and can’t recall a single situation where questioning the reason and value of a programming assignment was treated with anything but scorn.
Colleges and universities routinely stunt the minds of software developers and effectively force them either into the “hacker” mentality or out of the business. The reason that wise developers who care to question have become so valuable, is because of their rarity, and that in turn is due to a lack of supply.