I’m about to make a broad generalisation– there are two types of developers in the world. In all of the places I’ve worked, I noticed this dichotomy–I suppose it exists in all industries. There are the run-of-the-mill developers who code for the infrastructure at their disposal and there are the genuine players in the industry.
I’ve become more and more aware of this as I look around organisations and to see a few developers who only know the platform they are allowed to code for, between nine to five, every day. They live for their outside interests. A nice car. A happy family life. Maybe some night classes.
Then there are the genuine players in IT. Talk about any new technology or bleeding edge coding style and they will know of it and maybe even dabbled a bit while not in the office. They read, or better yet, write blogs about better ways of doing things. They look forward to the end of the day so they can go home and really code something remarkable.
I know a lot of Java players and Microsoft players. I’ve worked along side people who will code a giant if statement around a block of dated code just to avoid looking seriously at it. And I’ve also worked along side people who can fill you with excitement about a new browsers, an updated .Net version, or even better quality Source Control Management.
A person on the cutting edge knows about Flickr, Ajax, .Net 2.0, etc. The majority of developers know about the servers they officially support.
Last month I met up with some friends from Barcap. Within 5 minutes the discussion turned to .Net 2005 and how it’s better than 1.1 but still has a lot of bugs. Then, we eventually talked about women (we are men after all).
I’ve known people who have taking holidays to learn a new technology shut up in a spare room of their house. I’ve known developers who devour Wrox books and offer knowledgeable critiques of them.
Then there are the developers who swear they can’t learn a new language unless they have a project to work on and swear that computer books are too dry. They copy any code they need from the web and modify it to fit they’re needs (often leaving a dangling variable somewhere).
A pointless rant, I know. I want to be more of a player and sometimes stray from the path. I admire those who say, “I am a developer. This is my industry,” with head held high.