What are programmers like? Smashing the top 5 stereotypes


5 min read

Being a programmer varies. A lot. Based on technology, sector, location, employment status, and a million other factors. But since programmers are everywhere in popular culture, there are a ton of stereotypes and generalizations about what they are like and what they do.

To give you a more realistic image of their tasks, qualities and challenges, we’re going to debunk five common stereotypes about programmers. Let’s cut to the chase.

programmer stereotypes

Top 5 stereotypes

1. Programmers are boring and have a dull job

This common stereotype cannot be further from the truth. Programmers may not express themselves like a poet or a painter for sure. They are more like applied artists when they work around a particularly challenging problem. 

Creative problem-solving is a programmer’s number 1 task.

They’re solving puzzles for a living – puzzles that can have several solutions. Imagine someone giving you a hammer, a rope, and a box of matches to get out of a locked house. There are several ways you can solve this puzzle, and not one solution is considered best. First, it should be effective, and then you can figure out methods to do it more elegantly. But it certainly takes creativity to solve it, right? And the way you did it will show your style and personality.

Optimizing code requires a good amount of creativity too. First, the code has to work, but once that’s done, you can figure out tricks and techniques to make it run faster or consume less memory. You can also take things to the next level and consider how other people will view your code. Writing beautiful, easy-to-read code is an art and a highly creative activity.

2. Programmers know everything IT

Many people think that because you are a programming specialist, you know everything there is to know about computers. If you spend so much time next to a computer, you must know all the secrets of this mystical machine. Well, not really.

Sure, as a developer, you know how to deal with computers. And you’ll likely know some tips and tricks to fix some issues. But you’re not even close to an electrician or an engineer. However, when people learn what you do for a living, you might be asked to fix some cords, look into buggy apps, or try to fix old, overheated PCs.

But even the all-rounder IT guy who can fix everything is a myth. Fewer generalists exist in the IT sector, and programmers are usually more steered towards one type of specialisation. You can be focused on web development, app design, or test automation. There’s likely a field where your knowledge is more vast than your peers, and that’s a beautiful thing.

3. Programmers just write the code and their job is done

People think a programmer can write a code, hit send, and rest. But delivering the product is just the beginning. As with any job, there’s so much more to a programmer’s daily work than just the coding.

Completing projects is a challenge for programmers because programming is never really finished. There are bugs to be fixed, and there are iterations that you’ll likely have to make. The programming timeframe is vague, and there’s always some uncertainty around when it ends.

Testing if the code works fine is just as important as writing it. Programmers can therefore spend a lot of time updating current programs and running tests to find bugs to see if everything runs smoothly. So to say that they are done when the code is done is just a myth.

DevOps specialist programmers are also into promoting and maintaining the software and have control over the entire software development cycle.

Plus, a programmer will spend significant time staying up to date with technology. They can be researching, exchanging ideas, attending conferences or contributing to open source projects. As technology continues to grow,  programmers need to keep up with frameworks, tools, and libraries because these become outdated quickly. As a programmer, you must do your best to get used to these changes rapidly and efficiently.

4. Programmers are antisocial

When people think of a stereotypical programmer, they picture a guy who doesn’t talk much and sits at his desk all day. But it has always been necessary for programmers to have excellent social and soft skills.

Networking, collaborating and presenting in front of people are just a few things a programmer has to do to build a solid career. While programmers sit at their desks, they do a lot of social stuff while they’re there. They work with several specialists and teams to understand a business problem or work out a product’s development timeline. They do collaborative problem solving daily.

At Codecool, we understand how important it is for students to prepare for the demands of the current job market. We started our school to bring education closer to workplace demand and culture. Our students work in groups and on their own, too. At Codecool, you can experience what it’s like to work in agile teams, get used to collaborative work with others, and present in front of clients.

Regarding soft skills, we put a lot of emphasis on refining presentation and project management skills, as well as communication and planning skills. While most universities or boot camps aren’t focusing much on these skills, we’ve made them an integral part of our curriculum.

5. Programming is men's business

Women can become great programmers, just like men. What’s more, sometimes, women can be even more empathetic, creative, and collaborative than men. So they can make a perfect fit for any development team. 

While tech is still a male-dominated industry, a significant shift is happening backstage. More and more companies realise the benefits of bringing women into tech and encouraging initiatives to allow girls to enter the world of IT.

With the CoderGirl Scholarship, we want to give girls and women a chance and the confidence to start learning tech. At Codecool, they’ll get the opportunity to learn multiple prog languages, work on lifelike projects, develop valuable hard and soft skills, and will be able to start a new tech career.

Want to get the full picture?

We hope you understand better what it’s like to be a programmer. Probably more fun than you’d have imagined, right?

If you like what you learned and want to find out whether or not programming is for you, let’s get in touch.

At Codecool, we can take you to a guaranteed tech position in 10 months with our Full Stack Development Course, and we’ll be there supporting you all the way.

Sounds exciting? Reach out – write us an email, chat with us directly on our site, or come to one of our events to get to know us.

We’ll be happy to answer any questions to help you make an informed decision.

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