There are many ways to slice and dice developers, tall/short, C#/VB.NET, smelly/showered, however I tend to put them into three buckets. I also interview to find out which bucket they fall in to see if I want to hire them. Here are my three types of developers:
Constantly learning new technologies to keep yourself aware and in practice with the latest standard and technologies is stressful and requires more time then anyone is ever given at work. However, there are a type of developer out there that is constantly learning on his own time to try to become the best at their job. One easy way to spot this type of person is that they have projects outside of work they are doing just for fun. Once engaged in a project at work, the technologies for the project are not updated when the “latest and greatest” comes out, so a constantly learning developer has his own small projects that make use of the the bleeding edge – without having to talk his boss into upgrading everything all the time. These types of people try new stuff, take evening class, buy their own books, and show up to evening user groups on their own time.
Pay Me To Learn
The next group of developers will learn new things if work pays for it. The only time they read blogs, go to classes, or try new ideas is if it is on works time. When they go home, they are home, and they don’t think about work or doing a buddies web site for fun. If a user group meeting is held in the middle of the day, they will go, however they request that they get paid for it.
There is a time in every developers life when they are done learning. It usually is near the end of their careers, or when they get burned out. The coast on what they know and constantly seek jobs that need them. Going from a cutting edge company to companies that need to maintain legacy software, then on to insurance companies. They don’t Google anything, they don’t like new ideas, the way they know how to it is the only one they want to do.