At this year’s Tech-Ed I was again reminded of two distinct breeds of developer. On the outside they’re almost indistinguishable. In fact they share a number of common characteristics that, at first, can make the unobservant believe all developers are the same - they both wear headphones like a fashion accessory, they drink Vs like water, they attend Tech-Ed… But don’t be fooled, under the hood the two breeds are easily discernable. I refer to them as the Elegantus-Coderectus and the Pragmaatus-Coderectus.
To help you understand the key differences I’ve compiled a list of distinguishing features.
- Enjoys the journey over the destination – they get more enjoyment out of the technical elegance of a solution rather than solving the business problem itself.
- Has typically written three compilers, four data access frameworks and built 10 computers from scratch before the age of 10.
- Believes you can’t be an effective .NET developer without being able to understand MSIL code instructions.
- Reviles software that doesn’t have at least 6 levels of abstraction between the user interface and database.
- Considers ‘black-box’ software as something that shouldn’t be trusted.
- Considers MOSS the ultimate black-box.
The other breed, Pragmaatus-Coderectus:
- Has their eye on the end game and wants to get there as quickly as possible. Their focus is often more user-centric than Elegantus-Coderectus and can accept compromising solution elegance by choosing sensible pragmatic alternatives.
- Like the Elegantus-Coderectus, was writing code from an early age however their tools of choice were Microsoft Access and Excel
- Doesn’t know (or perhaps care) what MSIL code is.
- Has no problem writing two-tier apps if it will save time and produce the right results.
- Is naturally trusting and loves ‘black-box’ software that can make their jobs easier.
- Loves MOSS, the plethora of out-of-the-box features it provides and the speed in which applications can be built.
Of course, despite a significant gender imbalance in the IT community (only 10% of Tech-Ed delegates this year were women), there has been enough inter-breeding between the two groups to produce developers that display a mixture of both traits. I am sure this will continue and the developer community will find the right balance between elegance and pragmatism.
My Tech-Ed session on Dynamic Data Controls probably attracted more Pragmaatus-Coderectus delegates than Elegantus-Coderectus but illustrated some great new ways to enable developers to build rich web applications extremely quickly and with little code. I’ll post more on my session later in the month.
If anyone has noticed any other developer breeds, I’d be keen to know more.