Last updated: 2001.03.25

On Programmers

Programmers, software engineers, system architects, system analysts. There are lots of different titles. But their primary work product is software. There are many types of programmers in the industry. Most of them are not real programmers.

The Point and Click Programmer

Do you know the "point-and-click windows programmer" (PACP) ? He knows how to fire up a integrated development environment (a tool), walk through a application wizard, and "create" a fully functional windows application, with windows, and menus, and button bars. But is he really a programmer? Will he be able to create software that is beyond the scope of the tool? Will he be able to find a problem with the end product?

More importantly, is this person of any value? We can ask that question differently: What is the incremental cost, to replace a point and click programmer with a real programmer? Is the savings in cost worth it? When it cost you quality of the end product?

The Copy Cat Programmer, and the Trial and Error Programmer

Before there were IDE's and hence PACPs, we have the CCPs. They produce work by cloning others. The problem is that they have no idea as to what they are cloning. So copy a program, make a few random changes, and hope for the best. Even if the programmer is not a CCP, they may be a TAEP, a trail and error programmers. Hewill systematically or randomly (depending on their experience) alter parts of his program hoping that his program would do what he expects.

The Vendor Platform Programmer

A slightly more evolve version of the PACP is the vendor platform programmer (VPP). These are programmers that have studied some vendor's platform API. Let it be Java J2EE, or Windows WIN32. They only know how to write software based on that particular API. They only know how to write software that behaves as defined by the platform, even if the behaviour is not what is required.

Net Negative Producing Programmer

This is a term that was coined by Ed Yordon -- NNPP. These are people that contributes negatively to a project. Pay them to stay home.


Real programmers are hard to fine. I cannot agree with you more. Should you then give in and hire any PNCP or VPP instead, just to get some work done? You could, but the problem is gene pool polution and dilution. If you start with one low quality programmer, you are going end up with a whole team of them. Talent attracts talent. The reverse is also true.