Software Developers are Extroverted – Developer Stereotype Busted!

According to a new study of Cuban software developers finds that more developers are ESTJ than anything else… which means… developers are social, or more social than the stereotype!

The aim of this study was to establish the personality profile of Cuban software engineers according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Analysis of the study shows that the most prominent personality type is a combination of extroversion, sensing, thinking and judging.

Human factors in software engineering have different dimensions. Studies have been conducted from different perspectives. These perspectives could be the study of human factors in different phases of the software life cycle, or the effect of teamwork on software development, or how a personality profile can suit a particular task or about some other miscellaneous issues.

Although 20 years ago software developers (systems analysts and programmers) had the lowest need for social interaction on the job, at present, human resource professionals responsible for hiring software engineers state that in addition to knowledge in applied computing and business, it is also very important that software professionals have the capacity to learn, ability to work in teams, oral and written communications skills and an orientation toward health and well-being. In short, adaptability, communication and stress management are seen as key skills for software engineers nowadays. Yet, such skills are not developed through logic and algebraic reasoning alone; they involve soft areas of intuition, feelings and senses.

In this study, the most prominent personality type was a combination of extroversion, sensing, thinking and judging. For example, ESTJs are known as being practical and realistic individuals; they lead people and make things happen and, thus, are more likely to rise to management positions. At present, planning, management and analysis are more dominant tasks than programming, and client-developer interaction is also required. Even selected software development methodologies tend to be agile, which means that programmers must be communicative and receptive. It is, therefore, possible that future studies will show extroverts more widely distributed than introverts in the software industry.

Wow. I wonder if there are cultural implications here… take a peek at the full study below:

[scribd id=65343070 key=key-1x2qbtzu6gixl1npymoy mode=list]

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10 Responses to “Software Developers are Extroverted – Developer Stereotype Busted!”

  1. K
    September 26, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Hate to bust your myth, but the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a terrible judgment of anything, really. Myers and Briggs had no training in psychology and based a lot of their indicator questions on Jungian psychology…which they were not actually qualified in any way to interpret. Also, the tests are rarely given in appropriate settings (you can take the MBTI online). Further, “extroverted,” according to the very people who made the test, doesn’t mean that the person is extroverted. Using the MBTI to provide any sort of insight into a person’s mind is equivalent to using their zodiac sign.

    • peter
      September 26, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      Yeh… it’s a study after all though. Interesting enough to write about! :)

  2. David
    September 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    This could be a Bad Thing … if it means that businesses (managers) are hiring more people who think like them — i.e. people who like to have meetings and pontificate about the future of whatever, but can’t produce working code.

    The MBTI uses “extraverted” and “intraverted” instead of “extroverted” and “introverted”. “Extraverted” means you (more often thatn not) get energy from interacting with other people. “Intraverted” doesn’t mean you’re a wallflower; it means interacting with others (more often thatn not) consumes energy.

    The test actually distinguishes between the two by asking questions like, do you prefer “deep” discussions or small talk? If the former, you’re likely an intravert.

    Most developers I’ve known have taken the MBTI or some similar test, they’ve been 99% Ts, 90% Is, 75% Ps. Granted that’s a small sample but probably not much smaller than the one used in this study…

    • peter
      September 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      Interesting thoughts on this. Never thought of it that way. Though, from experience… I rarely find devs all thinking like the business… or… maybe its the fact that they’ve never been able to talk with the business???

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