The 14 characters you meet as a coder

Are you a Developer Diva? Perhaps a Holy Priest of technology? Or maybe you're the Hipster Hacker from Hell? Let's find out ...

Developers often think of themselves as the only sane person in the room. This, as you may know, is also a trait of the clinically insane.

Left unchecked, certain developer personality types can sink your project -- or, worse, make themselves no fun to work with. In my long and storied career, I've personally encountered all 14 of these personality types. In fact, I have been several of these people to some degree or another; I've also knowingly hired them. You know who you are.

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The Developer Diva. Great software is rarely a one-person effort. There are users, plus the testers, plus the crew who markets or sells the work. But the Developer Diva recognizes those efforts in the same way actors who win Oscars thank the "little people." Developer Divas are not satisfied with standard accommodations; they need to be pampered. In fact, someone in management needs to devote at least 50 percent of his or her time to listen to the diva's complaints and get the diva to produce. If that management load increases every time the Developer Diva acquires a new skill, perhaps it's time to send the diva packing, even if the replacement is a little less skilled.

The Rock Star. Generally this guy knows HTML and JavaScript or maybe PHP, but from the ego you'd think he just set down his Les Paul after headlining at Madison Square Garden. After his 15 minutes are up, the crashing ego isn't pretty.

The Reluctant Programmer. Rather than urge their kids to be doctors or lawyers, some parents push their progeny to go into software development. Sometimes it works out. And sometimes the poor, benighted offspring gaze out of the office window yearning for hard labor in the 95-degree heat -- anything except spending their lives doing something they don't want to do, whether or not they have the aptitude for it. Usually their work is mediocre, and they're out the door every day at 4:55 p.m. sharp.

The Holy Priest. This person revels in technology for its own sake and has no patience for the hapless techno weenies who don't spend their days chanting arcane invocations using terms like "regex," "SOAP," "asynchronous messaging," "n-tier architecture," and "CORBA." Holy Priests recognize opinions as valid only if they come from fellow clerics, and they express contempt for "lusers" at every opportunity. They may be brilliant coders, but keep them locked in the closet, far away from customers.

The Process Guru. You might wonder who would spend all their time reading books on the latest development methodologies. That would be the Process Guru, who knows more about Scrum, XP, RUP, Crystal, PSP, TSP, and COCOMO than the rest of your organization put together. The guru is interested only in the process of creating software and cares nothing about the output of said process. Consuming every minute of every meeting, the Process Guru likes to explain how "we're doing agile wrong" and pontificates about the need for more agile training. Usually, but not always, the Process Guru is recognizable by the Certified Scrum Master status.

The "Jeopardy" Champion. The expert on arcane trivia, this developer may or may not be generally productive, but stands as the one person on the team who always seems to possess some obscure bit of needed knowledge. Whether it's the details of how "volatile" works in Java, both before and after the changes to the memory model spec, or deep knowledge of tuning a JBoss AS 4.2.3 configuration, the "Jeopardy" Champion is a valuable asset (at least twice a year).

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