Are Developers Introverted or Extroverted? Are They Intuitive or Logical?

| by Abel Avram Follow 12 Followers on Feb 20, 2013. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

A new Evans Data survey has performed an ample study meant to uncover some of the characteristics of the developer community. Are developers introverted or extroverted? Are they intuitive or logical? Do they prefer virtual or real rewards? What is most worrisome for their carrier? And many others.

Evans Data Corporation (EDC) has conducted a recent online survey meant to decipher the attitudes, adoption patterns and intentions of developers in relation to marketing. The survey was done through an in-depth interview of 457 developers from the EDC International Panel of Developers which, according to EDC, includes around 75,000 developers from 85 countries recruited as neutrally as possible without being vendor or platform related.


When it comes to what’s driving them in their work, developers under the age of 25 start as being mostly curios, then most of them want to enhance their skills, then, around 50-55, they have a time when they like to contribute to the community, being mainly curious after 55 but also remaining with a desire to learn more as shown in the following chart:



When it comes to rewards, the study has found that the vast majority of developers prefers virtual rewards (badges, levels, leaderboards points, etc.) to physical ones (cash, vacation, software). Two thirds of the developers incline towards recognition from their peers:


Carrier Worries

During the survey the developers were asked to identify what’s most worrisome for their carrier, what happens to the platform they are developing for, their skills or the tools they use? Developers consider that the decline of their platform of choice or tools is more worrisome than their skills becoming outdated. EDC interprets that as “A developer can always learn new skills but if you’ve just invested years of your life and possibly a lot of money on developing an app for a particular platform or technology, and the platform becomes irrelevant in the market, then you’ve potentially lost a lot.”


Introverted vs. Extroverted

Programmers are stereotyped as introverted geeks, even nerds, but what do they consider themselves? Most of the develops think they are extroverted, half of them being moderately extroverted, as shown below. The results were consistent across different countries. Being such a personal question, perhaps a more precise measurement method would be using observation rather then self evaluation.


Intuition vs. Logic

Another question was meant to measure how much developers rely on intuition and how much on logic. The results are those expected, 85% of them placing themselves on the logical side of the equation:


The 200-pages survey contains answers to many developer related questions, such as:

  • What Makes a Developer Excited about a Tool or Technology?
  • Why do Developers Become Developers?
  • How Many Would Change Tech Careers for More Money?
  • Motivations for Abandoning a Platform
  • Companies Developers Believe Are Most Relevant
  • Most Credible Source on Emerging Technologies
  • Top Reasons for Attending Webinars
  • Best Length for Instructional Videos

and many others like those.

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And by Vic Cekvenich

are they blonde or dark hair?

Re: And by Bilguun Bayarmagnai

Mostly no hair :p

Survey? by Tero Vaananen

It's a survey, not a proper study so take it as it is. For example, if people actually do personality tests under supervised conditions, then maybe you get better answers. I would not be surprised to see the introversion/extroversion scale flip entirely.

Re: Survey? by Ethar Alali

I am responding having not read the entire study, but initially Tero is right. It is ultimately a survey and the results are inherently subjective. Also, we have to note that the types of people who fill the survey in, despite attempts at neutrality, may result in only the shameless extroverts completing them for self-promotion. The test would be the number picked form the neutral set and the number that returned them relative to the prevalence of introvert/extroverts in the general population of developers from studies using more objective psychometrics such as Myers-Briggs ;-)

As much as I jest about that, the point is about confounding factors and surveys like this, which still contain very useful data when taken in context, have to account for these confounding variables in any data analysis/interpretation. Otherwise, you get speculative statements. Stats just gives you data, the rest is your own imagination... rightly or wrongly :-D

Re: Survey? (part 2) by Ethar Alali

...Indeed, we have to be aware that this subjectivity extends to the definitions of 'logical' and 'intuitive' definitions themselves.

Together with a number of people in the industry, I have a background (specifically a postgrad) in mathematics. I also often wear very strategic and analytical hats in the roles I go for (whilst I very much still develop software, I also work in solution and enterprise architecture roles). My view of a developer being logical has almost never aligned with what is the modal norm in the industry, especially when you look to exemplify it using the mathematical definitions of the term. Ask analysts, data scientist and some architects the same question about developers and in the main, you'd get the same answer. Developers are really not all that logical.

So I would be wary of drawing too many objective conclusions from this particular survey. This may give an insight into the developers minds that completed the survey, which in itself carries some value (specifically around managing them) but little else.

How to tell by Hermann Schmidt

I heard this joke lately:
How can you identify an extroverted developer? He looks at your shoes while talking to you.

McConnell's Rapid Development says they ARE introverts by Philopator Ptolemy

Using a standard MBTI model:
"Not too surprisingly, two extensive surveys have found that computer professionals are much more "introverted" than the general population."
"The same surveys found that 80 percent of computer professionals have a preference for thinking (T) over feeling (F) compared to 50 percent of the general population."
"This planned, logical bent is reinforced by computer professionals' preference for judging (J) over perceiving (P)—two-thirds of computer professionals are Js compared to about one-half of the general population."

Re: McConnell's Rapid Development says they ARE introverts by 李 彬

Is that "carrier" of "career"? It seems that the developers are worrying about their careerlife. What does that "carrier" mean here?

Thanks :)

More data on the subject by Pierre M

If you are interested in the subject, I just published a modest study based on actual personnality surveys.

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