The 10 Types of Software Developers, Ranked

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The 10 Types of Software Developers, Ranked

The 10 types of software devs, in order of ascending complexity. What did I miss?

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50 COMMENTS

  1. Aaron, to be frank what should terrify entry-level programmers is not having the correct foundation in computing in the first place. If that’s taking the long path then so be it. FWIW – I’ve been a professional systems software engineer for 35+ years and have several hundred thousand lines of production code running all over the world. At some point smart AI tools and market saturation is going to dry up a significant percentage of entry level web development jobs. At that point those who persevered through a four year computer science or software engineering degree are going to be high-fiving themselves, because they will (if the took their studies seriously) have the correct foundation to remain employed and quickly gain the more advanced skills that will be required to stay employed. That said, if you’re a bright and highly motivated web developer early in your career, then just keep learning more and more advanced skills and foundational things like applied math, advanced data structures, algorithm analysis, etc. That will give you a much greater chance of surviving as a programmer in the coming years and decades.

  2. Overall, really nice breakdown!

    I think control systems might be missing (for robotics or electronic sensor systems. E.g. thermostats or self-balancing robots). There’s some overlap here with embedded systems.

    I also think you can be in Arduino land without ever touching real embedded systems concepts like interrupts (I think this is a huge shame because they’re actually more like how humans think) or more complex concepts like RTOS.

    I also make a distinction between people who do matrix math (ML, data science, signal processing, robotics people) vs people who do discrete math / combinatorics (routing algorithms, trees, shortest path kinds of things) vs backend data mangling stuff vs DevOps vs people who connect pre-existing APIs (can be front or backend) vs front-end UX

  3. Great video! I am deciding on which direction to go next after my bachelor’s degree and this video made the options more clear. I will probably stick to web dev and go more in-depth and focus on scalable and bigger projects. I also like game dev a lot but if it is a lot of work for not so much money, it is probably not worth it.

  4. I always find it funny when people say they know AI, I ask them 2-3 questions and recognize which sort of pleb they are pretty quickly 😛
    In companies it is common to use the azure AI, which is the lowest of the low when it comes to "making" AI… It doesn’t perform the best, and the user doesn’t understand any of the issues that commonly arise.
    Atleast with people who code in tensorflow or pytorch they have understandings for over/underfitting, complexities and such.
    In AI the simplest task is definitely supervised learning with both RL and unsupervised learning being more complex though some of the people doing SL being insane as well.

  5. This scale is really skewed. I work at a company that does all of these and I have as a lead been involved to some extent in most of them. The hard part is doing several of these roles at the same time and doing them efficiently. The only area I can say is hard, are the people making the frameworks, compilers and tools other programmers use. The rest of the roles are just different roles needed to create a product. It’s especially almost insulting to put frontend as a web role considering the waste landscape of mobile development that is very different from web, but I am assuming you have little experience with frontend and product development from your description of this role. Or it could be you mostly have experience with this role and therefor see the others that you do not have as much experience with as more complex.

  6. woulda have been great to cover cross functional roles like machine learning engineer, where we do devops + performance backend + machine learning + architecture

  7. Being new to programming and looking to pic a language to learn, this feels like I’m about to choose a new character in an MMO. Thanks for the great vid!

  8. I think there is a bit of misconception when people say frontend today. Sure there is the kind of work you mention, but more likely today as a frontend you need to know typescript, testing (unit, integration, e2e), take care of preparing the code for production (code splitting, transpiling, bundling), probably server render the app etc. Besides a lot of logic and responsibility has typicality been in the more backend has increasingly moved to the frontend. So the question is why people still think frontend is so much less complex than backend?

  9. Easier to get into doesn’t mean there won’t be lots of work and room for growth. Never get into your head that a path you’re interested in will be viewed as lesser. Just be better today than you were yesterday.

  10. All types should just stop and go back to university. Software is NOT a profession. There is NO BARRIER TO ENTRY and FULL OF LIARS AND CHEAP FOREIGNERS. SOFTWARE IS A BLUE COLLAR JOB WITH NO JOB SECURITY AT ALL.

  11. I am ready to take the next step from business application development to the A.I. world. There’s a ton of resources, videos, and libraries (Tensor Flow, etc.) Very excited to see what I can do with it.

  12. Not far off with the embedded programming. If you want super-efficient programming then you program in logic languages that produce virtual circuits (FPGA), and can later (for lots of money) be mass-produced on silicon. Aside from that, most embedded electronics run C/C++ compiled to assembly and run on ARM processors from flash storage chips, or even just on very cheap (a few bucks) microcontrollers.

  13. Some valid points but I’d specify something that you threw out there. Web Developer != Front End Developer. “Web sites vs Web apps” like you mentioned for example. Many different types of systems need a GUI. Which is where a front end dev would come in. Whereas Web Developers stay in the realm of browsers exclusively even using tools like WordPress. Just my two cents.

  14. Modern Web Dev using PWA tech is far more complex and technical then some microservice "code in a box" development. I’m a full stack dev and I can tell you it’s far less complex to run your code in a known runtime simply grabbing data from a known source ….unlike multi runtime, distributed code with front code.

  15. Great summary! You forgot perl developers like me who can Print "Hello World" in an infinite loop, 🙂 Seriously, it’s staggering what has happened since I started on a Philco 2000 "supercomputer" in 1967. I bet Elon Musk hires some of the highest level developers in the world.

  16. Wow, I don’t feel this guy has a full grasp on what is effectively Information technology Technicians, vs software developer. Many of them interface with software but more on a configuration level. Dev ops / Sys ops rarely pull out a full set of software chops to accomplish their goals. It’s usually like a Rube Goldberg Machine jerry rigging scripts together. I feel SRE title tends to have stronger software chops, and if you write a lot of code and do sys ops / dev ops you’re probably an SRE.

  17. Would love to see videos like these include something like PLC / machine programmers. That field could benefit tremendously from many of the tools of the modern developer.

  18. This is a really nice video. I am trying to see where I fit in. My experience includes: tire test design and analysis, OS development, pacemakers, plastic/molten metal injection, banking, word processing, front end, back end, chip testing, sensors, aircraft guidance, quantum mechanics simulation, library search systems, HVAC, a bit of VHDL, and lots of things with asm. Could there be a category for guys that just get things done?

  19. Categories are pretty good. Some of the examples are a bit less cutting edge (but that may mean more quantity of jobs). I would add native mobile as a category though.

  20. I like a lot of your content, but your course confuses me. You stated yourself we can go to Udemy to buy really in-depth courses for 9.99, but you want people to pay 150x more for less content? Interesting. Where’s the added value?

  21. I went into the front end web dev role because I don’t have any math/science background and didn’t think it’d be worth going into Python and doing machine learning etc… however, is that the case, is it possible to self-teach your way into Python positions, or am I right in thinking going the route I did is realistically the most achievable…?

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