November 7th, 2002 02:02 PM
Types Of Programmers
Techie Type Programmers
The truth is that there are big differences in techie types. The hardware people are radically different from the software people, and on the software side alone, there are at least three subspecies of programmers.
Forget about the first subspecies, the lumpenprogrammers, who typically spend their careers maintaining mainframe computer code at insurance companies. Lumpenprogrammers don't even like to program but have discovered that by the simple technique of leaving out the comments--clues, labels, and directions written in English--they are supposed to sprinkle in among their lines of computer code, their programs are rendered undecipherable by others, guaranteeing them a lifetime of dull employment.
The two programmer subspecies that are worthy of note are the hippies and the nerds. Nearly all great programmers are one type or the other. Hippie programmers have long hair and deliberately, even pridefully, ignore the seasons in their choice of clothing. They wear shorts and sandals in the winter and t-shirts all the time. Nerds are neat little anal-retentive men with penchants for short-sleeved shirts and pocket protectors. Nerds carry calculators; hippies borrow calculators. Nerds use decongestant nasal sprays; hippies snort cocaine. Nerds typically know forty-six different ways to make love but don't know any women. Hippies know women.
In the actual doing of that voodoo that they do so well, there's a major difference, too, in the way that hippies and nerds write computer programs. Hippies tend to do the right things poorly; nerds tend to do the wrong things well. Hippie programmers are very good at getting a sense of the correct shape of problem and how to solve it, but when it comes to the actual code writing, they can get sloppy and make major errors through pure boredom. For hippie programmers, the problem is solved when they've figured out how to solve it rather than later, when the work is finished and the problem no longer exists. Hippies live in the world of ideas. In contrast, nerds are so tightly focused on the niggly details of making a program feature work efficiently that they can completely fail to notice major flaws in the overall concept of the project.
Truly, i am a hippie