Types Of Web Developer

To say one is a Web Developer is similar to saying one is an engineer. Without further clarification, the label means very little. To help with apprehending the various specialisms within the field, I have created this transparently cynical piece of link bait. My list is by no means comprehensive and I invite you to offer additions via the Twitter comments (#devtypes) or by email (heydon@heydonworks.com) if you wish to submit a fuller description. Compelling suggestions will be included with attribution.

Warning: Some bad language to follow.

1. Rockstar

The so-called Rockstar developer has no relationship with either music or — since his or her talents have such a narrow appeal — stardom. They do enjoy the attention of groupies, but such a following is typically constituted by heterosexual members of the same sex.

Rockstar programmers are prized for their impressive ability to quickly adopt and master new tehnologies and techniques. All too often, this enviable aptitude is employed to find solutions for problems that don’t fucking exist.

2. Bricklayer

Bricklayers avoid authoring code. Instead, they prefer to rely on the third party modules, plugins, extensions, libraries and widgets that form the building blocks of their application.

If it all goes wrong, try to resist the temptation to shout “JENGA!” as their Tower Of Babel collapses under its own payload. Fortunately, in this eventuality, there are a number of anonymous parties to blame.

3. Hacker

An extremely talented Bricklayer but with more maps, less SQL and an obliquely political agenda.

4. Personal Shopper

The Personal Shopper is a henchman who belongs to the Client’s inner circle. With a limited understanding of HTML, CSS, The English Language or basic design principles, the Personal Shopper is charged with ‘designing’ the website using Adobe’s photo editor, Photoshop.

The Client and his Personal Shopper are often equally oblivious to the sheer tedium and futility that consequently ensues.

5. Shoplifter

The Shoplifter is the one whose job it is to translate the Personal Shopper’s picture of a website into code. For the sake of accessibility and good document structure, this usually requires many a conjuring trick.

Anxiety sets in when the Shoplifter realises that their friends have forgotten to think about functionality again and that a new set of designs failing to address this issue will soon arrive in the post.

6. DOManipulator

From DOM plus Manipulator; essentially a code-literate UI/UX designer.

Whilst they are particularly adept at arranging and rearranging the data presented to the user, just don’t ask the DOManipulator how the data got there, where it came from or how it was modelled. According to the DOManipulator, there is an events-based extension for CSS. This extension is called javascript.

7. Pedant

The Pedant is a developer whose expertise in semantic HTML is expressed entirely by pointing out the errors, no matter how small, in other developers’ code grammar.

If you’ve ever shown a fellow developer a rough proof of concept and he’s rolled his eyes at the less than optimal nesting of heading elements, you’ve probably encountered a pedant.

Pedants’ portfolios are usually extremely scant, either because they take forever to build perfect websites or because their many inevitably imperfect creations are omitted (fearing accusations of hypocrisy).

8. Brogrammer

From the fraternity moniker ‘bro’ plus ‘programmer’. The Brogrammer is a programmer who identifies coding with hangovers. Having discovered that doing a day of programming is a particularly curative post-binge-drinking activity, he has forged a strong association whereby he can no longer even contemplate writing code without being depleted of electrolytes, vitamins and sleep.

His ambition as a programmer is inevitably superceded by alcohol’s own ‘will to power‘, resulting in shitty work. Either that, or he has largely fictionalised his ‘brogrammer’ status as a compensatory front, which is almost always the case.

9. Non-developer

Not all protagonists in development agencies are always developers and, by way of contrast, the Non-developer is certainly worthy of a mention.

The typical Non-developer is the Project Manager for the ‘home team’. He or she may spend most of their time pitching or communing with clients, but the title ‘Non-developer’ does not
suggest that they are unable to develop at all; just that this is not their prescribed role.

Inevitably, Non-developers are looked down upon for not being ‘experts’. However, by being able to see the wood despite the trees, they have a startling knack for pointing out embarrassing misconceptions on the part of their more entrenched colleagues. So don’t get too cocky…

10. Sampler

Added by Greg Simon in the comments.

“The sampler has an understanding of the basic fundamentals of HTML/CSS/Javascript and visits sites that contain code snippets showing off developed code. The sampler will attempt to use the code snippet by copying the demo and seeing if it works out the box. The sampler will spend a minimum amount of time back-engineering the developed code to suite their purpose, if the code snippet is too difficult or cumbersome to implement, they will promptly abandon the sampled script in pursuit of a different, often more simplistic, approach that they can use”

The sampler’s motto: “it’s not about the journey, it’s about the destination”.