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Critical Programmer Personality Traits

3 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Mar 3, 2003 7:17 AM by Roy Wagner

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Willy Venners

Posts: 2285
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Critical Programmer Personality Traits Posted: Feb 26, 2003 9:59 AM
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Gerald Weinberg writes, "Although the average programming manager would say that intelligence is more important than personality in programming success, very few could cite cases of people who turned out not to be intelligent enough to program, but everyone knows of cases of people who were not temperamentally suited to the programmer's job."

This link was submitted in a post to's discussion of's How to Interview a Programmer article. In it, Gerald Weinberg provides an interesting discussion of the personality traits important for programmers. In short, he highlights these traits:

- ability to handle stress
- a "modicum" of neatness
- a dose of humility
- assertiveness
- a sense of humor

What do you think of Gerald's list?

Berco Beute

Posts: 72
Nickname: berco
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Critical Programmer Personality Traits Posted: Feb 28, 2003 3:51 AM
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Assertions...aahh... there they are again. Hmm...I guess that makes me qualify for the last character trait. Which in turn makes me qualify for the 3rd trait. This is getting messy...damn, qualified for the 2nd trait.... Good thing I'm able to handle such stressful events. :)

Seriously though, I think another important trait is the will to learn from others. The most general programmer trait that I know is that programmers always want to reinvent the wheel. Instead of looking for the code that solves the problem, they immediately start hacking themselves. Probably driven by the "I can do this myself, and probably better" idea. This is not a good trait in my eyes.

Michael Wiedmer

Posts: 15
Nickname: micks
Registered: Aug, 2002

Re: Critical Programmer Personality Traits Posted: Mar 3, 2003 5:50 AM
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I fail to see the link that this article tries to establish; the link between programming and personality. I would say that the personality traits outlined are important for any old job, and even for people who do not persue a career!
I must also question the authors point of view on software creation. Is programming really all it takes?

Roy Wagner

Posts: 1
Nickname: roy
Registered: Mar, 2003

Re: Critical Programmer Personality Traits Posted: Mar 3, 2003 7:17 AM
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I think one the most important traits that Gerald Weinberg pointed out years ago in his first book "The Psychology of Programming" is that of "egoless programming". Once a person's ego gets attached to their coding, the chances of getting that code to work correctly and to improve upon it is nil. Without "egoless" programming, we would have never gotten to "open source".

The second most important programming trait that I have seen over years of programming is the capability to handle change without frustration. Or at least being able to deal with changes to specs, design, schedules, customer expectations, etc. without visible frustration and to then deal with that frustration away from work in a socially acceptable manner.

Roy Wagner

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