Every programmer should be able to demonstrate breathtaking knowledge through use of obscure jargon and TLAs.  <cough>  Suggestions are welcomed at the bottom of the page.

Abstract-oriented programmer

One who prefers to process new information by seeking abstractions, patterns or theoretical understanding (contrasted with a Concrete-Oriented Programmer). Myers-Briggs Type Indicator classifies this group as “Intuitive” in contrast to “Sensing” individuals who are more likely to trust tangible and concrete information that is understood by human senses.  The “Intuitive” individual tends to be more interested in possibilities and trusting of hunches and insights.  See the main post on the Abstract-oriented programmer.

Agreeing loudly

Where two or more people raise voices believing they are in disagreement when they are in fact agreeing but not listening to each other.  Can be amusing or frustrating to onlookers.

Alpha Geek

cf. Alpha Male in animal behavior.  The individual within a technical community of high rank or influence over others (not necessarily the most senior in the documented organization hierarchy); the top of the pecking order; draws together lesser geeks to do his bidding.  Typically exhibits competitive, goal-driven, “take charge” or other leadership attitudes but can be resented for aggressive or controlling characteristics.  (Note: different meaning for Tim O’Reilly’s use of Alpha Geek in the sense of Early Adopter.)

Alpha Nerd

See Alpha Geek.

Concrete-oriented programmer

One who prefers to process new information by focusing on facts available (contrasted with a Abstract-Oriented Programmer). Myers-Briggs Type Indicator classifies this group as “Sensing” in contrast to “iNtuitive” individuals.  See the main post on the Abstract-oriented programmer.


A programmer with a dislike of ever testing their code.

Early adopter

An early customer or user of a product, technology or company’s wares.  Often experimenting with technologies and exploring new uses.  What Tim O’Reilly calls an Alpha Geek (cf. with definition above based on Alpha Male from the domain of animal behaviour).

Egoless programming

A style of cooperative computer programming in which personal factors are minimized to improve quality.  The idea was introduced by Jerry Weinberg in his book, The Psychology of Computer Programming.

Free range programmer

1. programmer for hire / contractor.

2. programmer working from home or unusual hours with minimal management.

3. programmers who is totally resistant to any form of influence from others; even resistant to good ideas.

Goto Hell

The lack of programmatic structure indicative of a programmer working beyond their competence.  Often, but not only, the inappropriate or overuse of “goto” statements.


Any estimate of time to complete a task that underestimates the actual complexity or time and often due to the influence of emotional concerns of the estimator.  (Adapted from a Bushism – “They misunderestimated me”.  Shouldn’t this become a real word?)


Inverted Misunderestimation.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

A widely used assessment of psychological preferences for how people perceive the world and make decisions.  See, for example, the Myers and Briggs Foundation.

NIH Syndrome (Not Invented Here)

Personal or group attitude to programming that favours reinventing the wheel rather than adopting or adapting something that is already available.

PDD (Personality Deficit Disorder)

Lack of interesting personality too often attributed to programmers.  (Not to be confused with real psychology terminology.)

Perfect Programmer Syndrome

Arrogant or egotistical belief of a programmer that they do not make human errors.  “Why should I test?  My code is always correct.”


1. Portmanteau of Psychology and Programmer; a programmer with some interest in how programmer behavior affects individuals, teams and the software they produce.

2. The blogger writing the Psygrammer blog despite his growing ignorance of the subject.


Happening without external cause.  Therefore spontaneous processes (e.g. creativity) resist management, scheduling and other controlling influences.  See Blog topic “Spontaneity has its time and place”

TOP (Test-Oriented Programmer)

A programmer that recognizes that their role is to create code that works, knows that bugs are inevitable and thus actively tests their code and engages positively with testing teams.

TLA – Three Letter Acronym

A fundamental communication and confusion tool of any ardent technologist.  For the pedant (you know who you are) TLA is actually a three-letter abbreviation.  See also AFTLA.

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