blog | notes | apps

Coworkers you meet as a software developer

Just some cynical observations from a decade of work.

Based on real people and events, of course.

The Prisoner

Great to work with, and is very experienced and knowledgeable in some niche, company-specific functionality or application. Because he has the most experience, he ends up doing almost all of the work in his niche. And because he is always busy, he never gets training on anything else. Retirement is his only way out. In his own words, he “made his ball and chain”.

The Old-Timer

He's been here for a long time. His code might not be the best and his knowledge of tech is outdated, but his knowledge of industry is exceptional. After retiring, gets hired back as a consultant.

Walking Wikipedia

Knows many things: about the company, the people, the industry, obscure historical facts, you name it. He also knows a lot about you, your family and your ancestors. More than you probably do. You can have great conversations with him, if you're not creeped out by this point. Reads Wikipedia and history books in his spare time.

The MVP (Minimum Viable Performer)

Seems like an average guy. Always looks for the easiest way to accomplish anything. Usually copies similar code and hammers it until it does what it needs to. Has absolutely zero regards to code quality or performance. Likes quick data fix tickets because quantity looks good to management. Leaves works promptly at 4:00 PM.

Grumpy Cat

Decent developer frustrated by lack of organization, managerial incompetence, and office politics. Often makes snide remarks in meetings and is usually the one to say "told you so" (he did, though). On good terms with fellow developers, but is disliked by management.

The Suck-Up

Gets appointed as a team lead out of the blue. Does not have any knowledge of his new team's tech stack or business processes. How did he end up here? He has casual lunches with one of the directors. Smiles all the time.

Health Hazard

Cigarette smoke permeates every object that he owns. His diet consists of greasy subs, Mountain Dew, and Reese's peanut butter cups. Everyone is legitimately concerned for his health.

The Wunderkind

Incredibly talented developer working in a no-name shithole company in a middle of nowhere. Why is he here? Does he owe the boss or has he reached zen?

Eager Beaver

New hire who tried to show off and/or prove himself worthy to the management by working overtime and volunteering for assignments from the first day. Got "rewarded" by management by getting the shittiest tasks and being the director's bitch (clicking "next slide") in meetings.

Kitten Dad

Single, middle-aged man that just adopted a kitten, and can talk about it non-stop. Pretty adorable and slightly weird at the same time.

“Senior” Developer

Developer that is senior, but in their age, not in their skill level. Regarded by management as experienced and irreplaceable, so they get assignments they are underqualified for, despite better candidates being available. Generally unwilling to learn, is rude to everyone, and is dismissive of anyone younger than them.

Busy Man

Complains how busy he always is, how many tickets he has assigned and that he needs to work overtime. Meanwhile, his daily schedule is:

1) Show up late

2) Smoke break

3) Go "check on things"

4) "Work" for 30 minutes

5) Go to Walmart

6) Eat lunch as desk while reading entertainment news

7) Smoke break

8) "Work" for an hour

9) Smoke break

10) Check on more things

11) Leave

God-Level Developer

An experienced corporate developer who still writes code, but reports to the C-level executives and no one else. Very opinionated, arrogant, and has the final say in many decisions. Any criticisms of those decisions are immediately reported to C-level execs.

Backseat Architect

Officially on the team, but has minimal interaction with the rest of the developers. Has very vague understanding of problems and offers generic suggestions to address them. Has the power to make technical decisions but is not responsible to actually develop or support the software.

Time Traveler

Young, white, American and otherwise pretty "standard" US office worker, but there's something odd about her. She does not understand any pop culture references and has to google common slang, such as "lol". Voluntarily works overtime on the most tedious projects. Given the impact the corporation has in the world, is she a time traveler sent here to prevent a catastrophe?


In his own words, "I sometimes play for fun". Extremely competitive and loves winning at everything from tabletop and video games to random office challenges. Will bet on anything from sports matches to... the number of cavities discovered at the dentist.

The Philosopher

Will either annoy or bore you to death with lengthy discussions and arguments about programming concepts, outlandish scenarios or how to implement a perfect solution to a problem. Uses buzzwords, reads programming books and tech blogs, but can't write decent code.

The Robot

Developer who is barely capable of analytical thought. Needs his tickets and task to be specific to the point where implementing them would take less time than the writing them up.

Corporate Linguist

Communicates exclusively in corporatespeak and cliches. Not just in meetings, but in everyday life, too. He's looking to set you up for success, puts his nose to the grindstone, gets his ducks in a row, works hard and plays hard.

The Bottleneck

Senior developer with infinite bus factor. At some point in time he wrote a good chunk of the codebase, so now he must review every single PR, and must be consulted for any planned changes. The team's meetings are usually about prioritizing his schedule while other developers are waiting on his feedback or approvals.

StackOverflow Incarnate

Any question you ask them will get you one of these non-answers: a tangent on something unrelated, a questioning of your entire approach, or the ultimate “just google it”. Also, they will never admit not knowing something.

PM (Pleasant Manager)

PM that fully admits she doesn't know how to code, so she defers all technical decisions to developers. Will confront upper management for the team. Really great to work with, until she is reassigned to some other project in a quarterly management shuffle.


Old enough to be your grandmother and is about as familiar with technology. Is honestly suprised by sites asking her to prove "she's not a robot". Although amusing, makes you question how she ended up in the IT department.

Status Stacy

No one knows what she does on a daily basis, but if you get a message from her, there's a 99% chance it's asking for a status update or an ETA.

Mr. Miles

Commutes over 100 miles one way to work. Bought a brand new car and put 300,000 miles on it. Either desperate or insane.

Miserable Michelle

If a tiniest thing goes wrong in her day-to-day routine, you will hear about it. The sky is falling and immediate attention is required. Dedicates the last 5 minutes of any team meeting to bitch about anything and everything.

PM (Project Mangler)

"She's very nice" is the most common description others use. Project manager lacking business and process knowledge, combined with a dash of arrogance. Her overly confident, but botched, delivery of any technical information makes all developers either roll their eyes or chuckle. Any complaints from developers are met with "it doesn't matter, you still get paid the same".

The Narcissist

Always brags about how difficult his job is, how his code is superior to everyone else's, and how "badass" he is for writing something trivial. Any of his failures are always because of managers, unrealistic expectations, and conspiring coworkers.

The Unappreciated Genius

Developer with only a few years of experience, all of them working in a single tech stack for a small local company. Nonetheless, he is convinced that he should be paid at least $150,000 per year. Applies to multiple senior positions at large corporations, bullshits through the interviews, and, surprisingly, gets hired for one of them. Only to be terminated within a month.

MF (Manager Friend)

Manager that is, for some reason, trying to be your friend. In 1-on-1, asks about your interests, favorite video games, and personal questions. All of this right after he fired your coworker for an obviously made-up reason.