What qualities do really bad programmers share?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 10, 2020 05:56 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 10, 2020 05:57 AM

Originally Answered: What are some signs of a bad programmer?
Some different personality traits that I have come across:

The philosopher. People who get stuck on philosophical issues in such a way that it inhibits their productivity/learnability etc. For example, a person was a beginner and the task was to write a program that read two numbers, added them and printed the sum. The first prompt and variable dealt with pencils, the second prompt and variable dealt with pens. These details were added by the person himself. Then came the hard question: “If I add them, will the result be number of pencils or number of pens?” He never passed the course.
The Dunning-Kruger programmer. People who believe they can program. When you ask this person if they can program, they will happily respond yes. If you believe them without checking, you are in for a real surprise. In my case, after a week, the person came by and asked questions at such a basic level that it was obvious that “programming” meant something totally different from what I expected.
The anti-Gritter. People who do not follow-through their project on a regular basis. There is a non-skilled and a skilled variety. The non-skilled is the same as Dunning-Kruger programmer. The skilled variety can do really good on interviews, in courses, but fail to follow-through with anything. In the case where I met such a person, there were always a lot of excuses for not completing tasks. N.B. in this case, if the task was sufficiently well-defined, then he completed it.
Stuck programmers. People who do not want to and believe that they are incapable of learning new programming paradigms, techniques etc. A typical comment I heard from some of these over the years: “I learnt programming as a 6-year old and it is not my fault that the others do not understand me”. I have never said this out loud, but my thought has been “Stop programming like a 6-year old, then”.
UPDATE: Fixed grammar and 14k views in one day, my new high score.


I have not encountered this per se in the role of a programmer and only heard of them: Primadonnas. Many of them are highly skilled, BUT with a toxic personality that limits their usefulness in a team. Essentially, they want to bask in the lime light and tolerate no competition. A friend of mine visited researchers at a university. He had the intention to visit a well-known researcher since he was in the vicinity. My friend’s friends at this university dissuaded my friend, and they said that he should not bother, because the researcher in question was mainly interested in proving everyone to be wrong. Luckily, most researchers/scientists etc. are not like this.

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