The next in a series of posts walking through various developer stereotypes.

Read the first entry to get a better idea of what this is all about.

Know Your Neckbeard

If you’ve worked in or with a traditional IT department, you’ll know this type right away.

They’re the by-the-book, dogmatic, DBA-type of developer that has deep knowledge of a particular domain, but can’t adjust or change course to something outside of that domain easily.

Your Neckbeard Field Spotting Guide

  • Certifications out the wazoo
  • Very, very quietly nerdy
  • Lots of polo shirts (on both the male and female versions)
  • Typically found in a server room somewhere
  • Knows the rule book, and is willing to throw it at you

Where to find a Neckbeard

  • Particularly nerdy user groups
  • Trade shows involving enterprise software
  • In the aforementioned server room

Hiring advice

In a word: No.

A few more words:

If you have a specific need - say you need a SQL server database administrator - then a Neckbeard might be the way to go.

Hiring for nothing more the server administration in general, where deep understanding of the inner workings of Linux distributions or the Windows server stack becomes an essential part of the job, is also pretty good fit for a Neckbeard.

Security can also be a nice fit because it’s a field where adherence to a rulebook is a good idea. You almost want someone rigid when it comes to security.

However, for almost anything else, a Neckbeard is going to bring you little more than pain.

They tend to slow things down, make things more difficult than they should be and generally become a hinderance and overall pain in the ass.

Following a rule book is a Good Thing™ when it comes to things like server admin and especially security, but for most development tasks, you want creativity. And nothing stifles creativity more than a rule book and a lack of flexibility.

Or someone bearing one.