Management too often worries about the cost per square foot of a private office rather than about the productivity-sapping consequences of noise and distraction. It is up to you to raise the issue. Even earplugs do not compensate for the chaos of the bullpen.
I bring the same programming capability, creativity, and will to excel-to every company I walk into. The company regulates my capacity to excel by means of the working conditions it presents me with. Those conditions, which are beyond my control, determine whether I will be superbly productive (and happy) or unproductive (and unhappy ).
Of course, reality and budgets being what they are, you might not have the option of a private office. In fact, if youre already working in a cubicle , having your own office may seem like an impossible dream. But at the very least, you can have a serious talk with your manager about your need for a quiet environment. He or she can ban radios and speaker phones. When programmers start demanding quiet, smart managers will start providing it.