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The 19 generations of computer programmers

Here is our guide to some of the more dominant tech generations in computer history, as embodied by the programmers who gave them life

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JavaScript programmers (second generation)

Somewhere along the way, JavaScript programming turned into a professional path with snooty ideas and endless debates about what constitutes clean code. Today, many Web pages are powered by sophisticated stacks of code that can only be maintained by skilled coders. The field is now dominated by efficient libraries that abstract away much of the browser incongruities and offer a sophisticated plug-in structure.

Other language of choice: jQuery

Special skill: Closures

Social media strategy: Waiting for

Other career choice: Working as a barista

Clothing: Hoodie

Rhetorical tic: "There's an open source jQuery plug-in that does it."

Car: Fixed-gear bicycle

Song: M83, "Midnight City"

Favourite artifact: DM from Brendan Eich

Haskell programmers

The language of the future offers a functional, statically typed mechanism that can reduce some of the complexity for writing modern, event-driven code. While the first implementations are easily more than 20 years old, the main users are still found in universities, but that's changing as cool open source projects gain traction. Haskell lovers insist this proves it will be the hot language in the 2020s.

Other language of choice: ML

Special skill: Getting around the prohibitions on keeping state around

Social media strategy: Alumni Notes, Reddit

Other career choice: Professor of mathematics

Clothing: Turtleneck sweater with elbow patches

Rhetorical tic: "I like my laziness effortless and ubiquitous."

Car: Yugo

Song: Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Klavierstücke IX"

Favourite artifact: Möbius strip

Hadoop programmers

The tool for building map/reduce jobs is technically not a language, but a collection of libraries written in Java. Not that it matters - writing the code requires a talent for spotting the best way to spread out the workload over a cluster of machines. As long as "big data" remains a buzzword that captivates the corporate leadership, we'll see more exploring the best way to write Hadoop jobs.

Other language of choice: Java

Special skill: Making sure the data is always local

Social media strategy: Yahoo coding conferences

Other career choice: Actuary

Clothing: Flannel shirt with beard, where possible

Rhetorical tic: "Big data."

Car: Retro Schwinn 10-speed bike

Song: Dan Deacon's electronica

Favourite artifact: Stuffed elephant

Node.js programmers

They learned JavaScript when they were adding an interactive Easter egg to their band's Web page. Now they're working for the enterprise shop and using that same JavaScript to handle $10 billion in foreign-exchange transactions a day.

Other language of choice: jQuery

Special skill: Trying to remember not to block the server with code that takes too long to execute

Social media strategy: Post-Facebook, post-Path, still bummed that Diaspora hasn't gone very far

Other career choice: Going to college

Clothing: Ironic T-shirt from Old Navy

Rhetorical tic: "Threads can be concurrent? Are you sure?"

Car: Skateboard

Song: "Video Games" by Lana del Rey

Favourite artifact: Rooted Android cellphone running Node


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