Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rob Walling's developer archetypes

I've mentioned Rob Walling's developer archetypes before, but my first week in my new position has brought home to me some of how I fall across those archetypes (and I'm egotistical enough to believe it is of interest to you). This is how he sums them up:
The archetypes are:
  • Trainer/Author -
    spends the majority of his/her time teaching, training, writing articles and books, and otherwise helping others learn how to program.
  • Coder - a hard-core developer. Into design patterns, the next cool and experimental language constructs, and talking about web service proxy generators.
  • Lead - excellent organization skills, driven to make projects succeed, and skilled at leading others.
  • Technologist - into all the new applications; would rather integrate than write code.
I mulled about this myself, but I didn't like the answers I got, but I know that's never a good reason to ignore something. This last week, it all came together for me. I'm in a senior developer position - not team lead, not project manager, not even consultant. Of course a fair bit of the week was spent settling in (getting the right keyboard for instance), but I found that by the end of the week I've done exactly four new lines of code, amended about 30 lines of code, re-designed 9 web page wireframes and yet feel valuable, energised and eager to go to work each day.

This settled an internal argument I'd been having about Coder vs. Technologist. I am definitely more of a Technologist than a Coder, but I'm more of a Coder than anything else.



30%
Coder


40%
Technologist



20%
Lead


10%
Trainer/Author

The part of my week that I'm most proud about? Getting a mental picture of how the whole company operates, particularly with regards to software development and deployment. I now understand how the whole hangs together - yet I'm sure a pure Coder would not be interested in that, it's more of a sign of a Technologist/Integrator. In any case it justifies for me the decision to go back to a development role, especially in light of Rob's recent post about why good developers re promoted into unhappiness. I'm far happier now than I was when all I ever got to see was Visio network diagrams, the occasional test script and tons of paperwork, meetings and decisions about what others should do.

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