The six types of programmer you’ll work with in development
By Jamie Mercer
If you’re in the business of web or software development, then programmer personality should be a major consideration when it comes to building your team.
Regardless of what business you’re in, if you’re hiring and expanding your development roster, you’ll need to find the right type of developer to suit your needs. During the early stages of business development, choosing one or two team members that perfectly embody all the personality traits you’re looking for can be the best option.
However, as you start to scale up through either product demand or investment, other skills and expertise can take precedence during the hiring process, pushing cultural fit to back burner.
“When we are looking to hire developers, the main thing we look at is their portfolio,” explains Oz Choudhury, Project/Marketing Manager at PowerPhrase: “How does their design look? The main things we look for in a developer is that they’re positive, hard-working, detail oriented, have the necessary technical skills, responsive and have the ability to finish things on time.”
While these are attractive traits, it can be argued the programmer personality type you’re looking for should be weighted in the same way as technical prowess. You don’t necessarily need to create a full character test to find out if a candidate is right for your team, but it may prove useful to learn how to identify common developer types and how they can fit with your organisation.
Here are just a few of the key developer types you might come across in your search for the perfect fit.
The Agile anarchist
As a development framework, agile has become increasingly popular in recent years. Helping to streamline the development process, as well as providing an end-to-end method of working, Agile allows developers to better manage the creation, testing and deployment of software and web applications.
Though productive, Agile can be too structured for developers who like to express themselves in code. These are the people we’ve classed as Agile anarchists, the ones who would rather work chaotically and left to their own devices.
For an application to be successful, you may need your entire team to adopt the agile methodology, and therefore you can’t afford to bring in this type of programmer. However, if you have the space to give them the freedom to do things their way (to an extent), you’re likely to get plenty of high-quality work in return.
The meticulous expert
Every so often, you may come across what we refer to as the meticulous expert. This type of developer has an encyclopaedic knowledge of their craft, lives and breathes code, and is passionate, informed and extremely capable.
You may find that these programmers are perfectionists by nature, which can slow down the time it takes to complete projects—the more meticulous the expert, the more time they’ll take.
Although they might extend the completion time by creating new tools, processes, and methods that are uniquely suited to their needs, if you can get them to compromise slightly in this department (without compromising the results), chances are you’ve got a real asset.
The disorganised developer
In every development team, you’ll come across developers who aren’t as organised as the rest. These programmers still have your business goals in mind, but on occasion, they need to be hurried along, or given a more flexible deadline.
Often if you place a disorganised developer in with a more goal-focused team then they’ll rise to the challenge, but as Oz knows, not every company can afford to make exceptions:
“We like developers who can communicate and follow directions. Deal breakers for us would be that they’re lazy, unresponsive, slow, and make a lot of mistakes,” says Oz. “We’ve dealt with these kinds of developers before. A developer that isn’t motivated to finish a project on time is a big no-no as well. They have to be able to finish projects by a given deadline.”
The super-organised programmer
In direct opposition to the disorganised developer are those with a super-organised programmer personality who works far better with a rigid structure.
Managing their own workload and timekeeping are two of this software developer biggest personality traits that can benefit a team in a thriving environment.
It’s also these type of programmer who ’ll often assume the de facto leadership position even if they don’t have an official title.
But while single-minded focus on getting the job done can be a real asset, it can lead to developers over complicating their workflow, especially if your team deals with a lot of data.
So if you’ve got a developer with this personality type, keeping your data well structured can help them to remain focused on the task in hand.
As far as useful programmer personality types go, you can do far worse than having a multitasker on your team. Fast, agile, workers able to split their attention between multiple projects at a time, a multitasker can be a godsend in a high-pressure environment.
Less entrenched in a singular project or goal, they can effortlessly hop across any active work for problem-solving or lend a hand to hit a deadline. But this spread focus may mean that some with the multitasker developer personality type may not be as rigorous when it comes to quality control.
That’s not always the case, but having a final check through of their work after they’re finished may help iron out a kink or two.
“It’s great to have a range of personality types within a team,” says Peacock Carter Director, Richard Carter. “In an agency environment, multitaskers are incredibly useful, able to swap to incoming maintenance and support tasks and leaving other team members to focus on project milestones.”
Experience should never, ever be underestimated, especially in such a highly skilled arena as development. Of all the web developer personality traits listed above, an experienced team member who is willing to share their knowledge and teach junior developers may be the most important.
Entering your business with a wide range of experience, a developer with this personality type may cost you more than a keen graduate, but they’ll be able to bring a new mindset your team and will be willing to nurture young talent.
This can lead to better overall development processes, the introduction ideas you didn’t know you needed, and the hard-earned knowledge that can guide a team out of a tricky situation, should they arise. In short, experience is vital, so don’t take it for granted.
Building a team that combines a mixture of all these programmer types can beneficial for your entire business. The key to success is balance and having a team that contains individuals with different personality types centred around a common goal means you won’t go wrong.