Programmer stereotypes

M.E. Driscoll wrote an interesting piece about the traits he sees in top engineers in Silicon Walley:
A couple of weeks ago, I was drinking beer in San Francisco with friends when someone quipped:

“You have too many hipsters, you won’t scale like that. Hire some fat guys who know C++."

It’s funny, but it got me thinking. Who are the "fat guys who know C++”, or as someone else put it, “the guys with neckbeards, who keep Google’s servers running”? And why is it that if you encounter one, it’s like pulling on a thread, and they all seem to know each other?

And continues to characterise them as:
  • Their craft is creating software
  • Their tools of choice are C, C++, and Java – not Javascript or PHP
  • They wear ironic t-shirts, and that is the outer limit of their fashion sense
  • They’re not hipsters who live in the Mission or even in the city; they live near a CalTrain stop, somewhere on the Peninsula
  • They meet for Game Night on Thursdays to play Settlers of Catan
  • They are passive, logical, and Spock-like
  • So it's C++ fat guys with neckbeards vs. JavaScript hipsters. In my experience its quite different in Finland.

    We do have JavaScript hipsters and some of them are really competent and obviously some not. Fat C++ guys that are great engineers are actually quite a rare.

    Majority of super competent C++ developers I know are regular boring engineer types (we used to use term "Nokia Engineer" to describe the type). These are people with 1,5 kids, golden retriever, wagon Volvo, and lives in a house in suburbs. They dress like normal engineers and most of their free time they use with their family. They really are passionate about their work and see it as craft, and do tend to use languages that are appropriate for the job, and definitely are logical. When they go shopping in saturday with their families they will not stick out in the crowd from the regular folk.

    I don't know if my experience is because of the companies I've been to, or if Finland's culture of not sticking out of the crowd has really limited the size of fat C++ coder community and forced the to fit society more than in Silicon Walley.

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