The Four Kinds of Programmers: How And Why They Excel


I decided to read a book not related to programming at all, just to help get some outside perspective. I decided to read about sales. After a little bit of Googling, I came across The Four Kinds of Salespeople: How And Why They Excel - And How You Can Too by Chuck Mache. The book talks about the four (and only four) types of salespeople: The Performer, The Professional, The Caregiver, and The Searcher. They each have their own strengths, and Mache suggests a way to get better. This list was made for salespeople, but I believe this applies to programmers as well. I will briefly describe them, as it relates to programmers.

The Performer

  • 10x programmer
  • Emotional
  • Very competitive
  • Passionate
  • Large ego
  • Natural-born programmer
  • Top programmer

Challenge: Have emotional highs and lows

How to get better: Help other people, with no agenda to help yourself.

The Professional

  • Intelligent
  • Analytical
  • Almost performer-level
  • Reserved

Challenge: Mostly stay conservative, don’t take many risks.

How to get better: Challenge yourself more. Do difficult things that you think you should do but are afraid to.

The Caregiver

  • Resistent to change
  • Comfortable
  • Mediocre results
  • Generally a previous Performer/Professional

Challenge: It’s hard to find motivation to do things out of your comfort zone.

How to get better: Decide who you want to be, and go for it. The Searcher

  • Thinks programming is easy
  • Won’t do any hard things, or things they don’t want to do
  • Doesn’t want to make changes to be a better programmer
  • Typically the result of a bad hire.
  • Is afraid while working

Challenge: It doesn’t feel right to be a programmer

How to get better: Be honest with yourself, and decide if this is really what you want to do.


Every programmer should fit into 1 of those 4 groups. Decide which one you fit in, and make the changes necessary to better yourself. I highly recommend reading the book. It’s a quick read, and it goes into much more detail about each type, and includes very important context.