TG #36: Blue-collar vs White-collar

December 15, 2009 – 2:00 am

On this Tweak and Geek, we debate the relative merits of coming to the software profession in different ways.

Are You a Blue-Collar or White-Collar Developer?

Craig – I have met some people with a classical CS background, and they have no sense of reality, i.e. getting a job done. However, I’ve found that people w/o schooling tend to miss a lot of the finer points of things like OO development, advanced language features and so forth. I have found that a good mix of the theorists and practicians can make a good team.

People with out the theory tend to brute-force things more, as well as stick with the old reliable (which may be the right choice). Sometimes the theoreticians are too… theoretical!

Pat – My engineering degree makes me white-collar, but my experience leads me to believe there’s at most a moderate correlation between education and development ability. Many great programmers I work with are blue-collar. Lots of white-collars I’ve known have great ideas, but can get caught up in “code religion” and don’t produce great code beyond prototypes. The ones who really grasp fine details and architecture tend to come more from white-collar backgrounds, but not always. One of the absolute best architects I’ve ever known has no degree, and often teaches me a thing or two. I wonder if the degree is as much an indicator of personality as a cause of theoretical quality.

If architects had to work like web designers…

Lame News

Mike – Canadian Health Insurer Pulls Coverage Based on Facebook Pictures.

Pat -Adoptee finds out his dad is… Charles Manson.

Craig – “Police Arrest Exec for not Using Twitter”
A big crowd was turning out to see Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber and police “were concerned that the crowd might break the glass in store windows with its shrieking.” They asked a senior VP to tweet to get the crowd to disperse. He did not comply and was arrested.

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