New Article: Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers

From my new article Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers:

“I come from the world of corporate software development. It may not be the most glamorous side of software (it’s nowhere near as interesting as shrinkwrap startups or those fancy-dancy Web 2.0 companies that show up in your browser every time you mistype a domain name), but it’s stable, pays well, and has its own set of challenges that other types of software development know nothing about.

For example, when was the last time someone working on the next version of Halo spent three weeks trying to gather people from accounting, marketing, product management, and their call center in order to nail down requirements that would likely change in 2 months once they’ve delivered the software?

Or when was the last time someone at 37Signals sat through back to back weeks of JAD sessions?

In this world of corporate development I’ve known a few phenomenal developers. I’m talking about those A+ people whom you would quit your job for to go start a company. And the the more I looked at what makes them so good, the more I realized they all share a handful of personality traits.”

You can read the entire article here.

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4 comments ↓

#1 http:// on 08.21.06 at 4:02 pm

Not sure about the first point’s title. I agree with your descriptions but I like 37signal’s “I’ll take someone happy and average over a guru who is disgruntled and frustrated.” Pessimistic seems too close to Disgruntled and frustrated. From my experience with working with programmers and employees in general, the importance of working with people with positive attitudes can not be emphasized enough!

#2 Doug @ Straw Dogs on 08.22.06 at 7:11 am

Sounds like one of those ‘Enterprisey’ types. Arrogant, bitter and often offensive towards the Mickey Mouse hackers in the Agile/Pragmatic world. Surely they’ll be extinct in a few years.

#3 rwalling on 08.25.06 at 4:29 am

Thanks for the insight, Doug. Actually, I love Agile development and much prefer small, fast-moving teams to large, corporate development. The traits I’ve mentioned have served developers well in teams of all sizes, but I will agree with you that they’re oriented more towards corporate development (as I said in the introduction). Extinct? Perhaps, but with the majority of the developers around the world working in a “corporate” team environment, that’s likely a long ways off.

#4 Sam Griffith Jr on 08.28.06 at 5:07 am

Rob, I liked the article and I created a blog entry with some of my ideas on what you said as well. It’s at: http://www.oreillynet.com/onjava/blog/2006/08/re_best_personality_traits_of.html