In case you’ve missed it so far, there’s a war going on in computer-nerd culture. Sane, friendly, rational people have become frustrated, disgusted, and embarrassed by the ridiculous self-aggrandizement encouraged in our profession.
Am I a guru, a ninja, or a rockstar? But I’m all three! What should I say on my resume? LinkedIn?? Twitter?!? How do I know it’ll be the right fit when I choose a job that only has one of these titles to give me?
This absurdity has made both ardent supporters and mortified detractors look silly and childish – the result has been continued relegation to back-office jobs in “hide-the-programmers” atmospheres. Every time the sales and marketing folk refer in public to the “rockstars” who write the code, they’re secretly thinking:
It’s a damn good thing that they never have to interact with or think about the customer! These guys couldn’t tell a fully-functioning person from an NPC from Warcraft! Thank goodness they’re less likely to procreate.
While it may be true that the history of programmers is filled with individuals best not heard, seen or smelled on a regular basis, many programmers are sick and tired of the reputation that these unkempt and uncouth excuses for human beings continue to proliferate and reinforce. We have been looking for an identity that can set them apart from the egotistical and exclusionary mindsets that are keeping smart and intuitive coders out of the big picture discussions.
That identity may just be Brogrammer.
Much has been written already about the philosophy and promise of the Brogrammer. Unsurprisingly, insidious Guru-Ninja-Rockstars (I shorten the name and clarify the meaning to “Gru-Nj-stars” or Grunjstars) have already launched counter-attacks to protect their Ivory Towers of Nerd-dom. Luckily, these attacks are easily recognized: newly-minted domain names (shirtlessbrogramming.com), hiding behind new Twitter handles, and just a general practice of passive-aggressive curmudgeonry.
Because there is a revolution happening, and because those of you not on the front-lines may have trouble differentiating between your grumpy-because-of-a-hangover polo-wearing programmer and your grumpy-because-life-kicked-him-in-the-groin t-shirt-wearing programmer, I’ve explained some of the differences below:
Brogrammers trust each other, teach each other, and help each other.
Grunjstars like to lecture, pontificate, and criticize. They look over your back and are watching their own.
Brogrammers recruit for intelligence, creativity, personality, ability to communicate, and desire to bring energy.
Grunjstars recruit for nerd points: they measure data structures, algorithms, languages, open source commits, and answers on Stack Overflow, feed all this into a complex formula, and compute their hiring decisions.
Brogrammers work long and hard at work, but when they leave, they go rock climbing, disc golfing, white water rafting, marathoning, wind surfing, and clubbing.
Grunjstars work long and hard at work, then go home and program some more.
Brogrammers are confident collaborators who search for pragmatic solutions to fit everyone’s priorities.
Grunjstars are arrogant individualists who espouse fundamental principles and miss the point of Getting Sh*t Done.
Brogrammers cheer on sales, marketing, and biz dev – they want to see their product used and loved by all.
Grunjstars only want respect from their fellow programmers for their nifty code – they snicker at the childish computer difficulties of the other departments.
Grunjstars are relics of a dying past. Brogrammers are here to stay, and our best days have just begun.