Wednesday, August 23, 2006

commentary on personality traits of the best software developers

Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers seems fairly insightful and honest. Some of the many comments also make some good points, although enumerating more and more desireable personality traits is really tangential to the original post. The author, Rob, condensed the most essential traits into an exceedingly compact list. Other traits are fine, but simply not as worthy of inclusion.

Naturally, I believe that I have the described traits, and furthermore that the four traits have a characteristic in common: a focus on reality (the code's effects) as opposed to a mere focus on idealized abstractions (the code itself). Developers focused on reality don't dream up a solution, code it, and then see how it turns out. Developers focused on reality 1. consider possible problems ahead of time (pessimistic trait), 2. believe that each problem is a logical effect from a root cause in the code (angered by sloppy code trait), 3. create and stick to a long-term plan that protects them against real threats (long term life planners trait), 4. keep abreast of as much reality as they can (attention to detail trait).

Of course, I can't help adding in a couple other traits that I value: 1. curiosity, 2. creativity. Developers with those two traits always have more alternatives available to them in any given situation. Ever play a game called Mindtrap? It has cards with short little puzzles, each of which has no obvious solution until the listener stops limiting his answers with assumptions and preconceptions. Life is Mindtrap.

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