Not all software developers are geeks. Dimitrios Mistriotis, software developer and ex-Googler, says understanding your own “archetype” could change how you think about your career
After working on web platforms and web user interfaces for, startups, places starting up, and large companies such as Google, I resolved to write a book that deciphered and mapped out the mental machinery of software developers. In an era defined by software, we actually know very little about the people who write all those lines of code that power it. “IT Archetypes” aims to change that.
There are now more than 7.2 billion people on planet Earth and about 32 million of them visit Stack Overflow every month. Who are all these people? What motivates them on a personal and professional level, why and how do they operate? Are they all or most of them obsessed “geeks”?, Do they secretly admire Mark Zuckerberg? Why do some of them bring up questions about Spolsky test in interviews and what is a “Spolsky test” anyway?
Writing “IT Archetypes” started out as an attempt to understand two things. First, why my CV was so patchy and second to explore the frustrations I felt while was working for a company that, among other things, was using antiquated technologies and management structures. When joined I noticed that I really hated the place, while, to my surprise, many of my colleagues seemed to like it (some seemed to like it a lot).
My first reaction was to point the finger at each of them and say “what is wrong with you?”. Then after several months of frustration, I started to internalise my concerns and ask “what is wrong with me?” After some self-reflection I realised that, firstly, I should not have joined this company in the first place, and second that by analysing why and how people like me end up in this position I had enough material to write a book.
My research led me to the anthropological studies and the material “out there” examining people in IT. An anthropologist typically tries to embed themselves in the “Amazonian tribe” – in our case among developers – and then tries to understand and express their observations with the framework that has been taught to them in their studies. A question that I had was this: what if we let the Amazonian tribesmen speak for themselves?