There are plenty of ways to categorize the different types of programmers, managers, product managers and salespeople, so why add another one? Because it’s fun, that’s why. Moreover, in many ways, kung fu fighters are like programmers, only instead of creating code, they dish out pain.
The Young Hero
The kid’s got potential, everyone can see that. She screws up a lot. She has moves she invented in her bedroom. She refuses to do anything the way it’s done, but there’s something about her that tells you that when it all comes crashing down, she’ll come through with a blazing keyboard and code like the wind. Given enough time, she’ll mature and understand the ways of the code. Her exaggerated Yin will balance out with some Yang, and while she’ll always have her own way of doing things, she’ll be a respected and trusted member of the clan.
The Old Master
Does he still has it in him? Nobody knows. He mostly teaches these days: sits on top of a mountain of knowledge waiting for his students to come seeking him. When they come, he ridicules them, puts them through tests and forces them to learn how to learn before asking for his help. Every once in a while, one of the young whelps will lash out, trying to code in or around the old master’s code. This attempt always fails miserably as the old master shows that on his mountain of knowledge, in his temple of code, he is literally unbeatable. Some students may become angry and leave, but the humble ones will learn – eventually.
He has seen so much code, too much for one man to bear. But there is so much code in the world, the least he could do is pick up some students and try to teach them a few things, harden them up for the world. Some may consider him too hard or too strict, but they haven’t seen what he has seen, they do not know how code can go horribly, horribly wrong. No one doubts his skills and his powers, and anyone willing to look past his oddities will discover a fountain of knowledge pouring out of him.
She has served under a single Shogun all her life, and was part of a huge hierarchy of castes and classes. Now the Shogun may be dead, or the whole hierarchy went down, or maybe she disgraced them in some way and was cast out, or maybe her Shogun has turned to the dark side and she would no longer follow him. Now she wanders the land, picking up work where it can be found. She is very powerful in the ways of the code, but her manners are outdated and she seems too rigid to cope with the real world.
The Beggar Monk
No one knows where he came from or what he does. He appears in just the right meeting to say two words that set all your plans ablaze, then he will excuse himself and leave. No one can point to a line of code and say for sure that he wrote it, yet no one could say for sure that he didn’t. Some may say he is a freeloader, full of talk and no code – he will be the first to say that himself. Only, sometimes, you need someone with a different perspective, someone who thinks more than he acts. Sometimes, he’s just the guy.
The One-Armed Swordsman
Her shortcomings are glaring, she is clearly too handicapped to be able to code right. Yet there is something in her stance, something in her chi that assures you that she will use her disadvantage to her advantage, that she has learned some technique that has made her as powerful a programmer, nay, a more powerful coder than she would be without her handicap.
The Drunken Master
Does he just pretend to be drunk? Is it just his way to deconstruct his code and make it implicit with so many hidden catches and dependencies? Where others will construct monolithic state machines and well-defined transitions, he will add two Booleans, change them all over the code and make each combination mean something completely different. No one can confront his code, no one can see through the mess of faints, casts and callbacks. Maybe that’s what he wants, maybe that’s just the way he rolls.
The priest’s techniques are all part of her respect for nature and the gods of code. There are ways and rituals that cannot be overlooked, lest the gods of code bring plagues and pestilence to the project. Sometimes she will preach to others to do as she does, but most of the time, she will be ignored yet tolerated by the clan, but never openly confronted – no one wants to risk angering the gods of code too much.
The ninja strikes in the night, hidden and masked. Is he one of the clan? No one knows for sure. Does he do good or evil? Possibly both. Whenever one of the ancient scrolls is missing, when the missing eye of the ancient statue suddenly appears, when the old master is thrown off his mountain in the middle of the night – the ninja probably did it. He could be hidden in plain sight; he could be a ronin or a priest, until he goes ninja on the code base.
The Ancient Evil
The ancient evil was once a member of the clan, he could have been a priest of a monk, a hero or a ninja, but he took to the dark side, caused all kinds of havoc in the code, corrupted the ancient scrolls of wisdom, stole the hidden techniques, and disappeared – but his blight has not. Years after he is gone, the hero will trip on his nefarious trap, the sensei will be asked to right one of his ancient wrongs, or the monk will appear from nowhere carrying designs for a doom machine long thought lost. The old master will find a riddle in his texts, sending his students on wild goose chases, the priest will perform a ritual bringing the spirit of the ancient evil back to life, or the ninja will steal one of his corrupt scrolls. The ancient evil will plague the clan forever, and just when you think you’ll never hear from him again, someone will speak his name and summon his ghost to haunt the clan again.
* Images from FaceYourManga