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developer versus code monkey

I keep hearing this topic in the forum. On my previous job I was told to build a clustering engine in real time for a well known search engine. Essentially I was asked to replicate' s functionality.
I spent 3 months cracking out algorithms and code for clustering, summarization using Information retreival and data mining concepts.
I also developed some heuristic methods for text summarization.Much of the my results compared with vivisimo's, so I thought for a 1 person effort it's not bad.
I had to create my own spec, testing, etc... doing
specs,testing and development all by myself.
working on the project I felt I was a code monkey sometimes, churning out lines and lines of code, but on the other hand I also felt like a proper dev guy, understanding algo's, doing big O stuff etc...
So i viewed my job as both.
How do people on the forum view their jobs?

Monday, May 03, 2004

There has been one time in my career that I have felt like a code monkey.  There were some optimizations that had to be done in one area of code and I was put on a task force to deal with some performance issues.  The senior person on this team basically had all the areas that he wanted optimized figured out and I was handed one section of code and basically told to re-arrange the exiting code to the way the lead guy had decided to optimize.  So all I had to do was churn out the code, no design, no profiling, no creative thought involved at all.  That was really the only time I have really felt like a code monkey.  Now as a developer I just feel like a second-class employee (management is class #1, all hail management)

Monday, May 03, 2004

Thats a very cool project. Not monkey work by a longshot.

As long as you get to use your brain in a creative fashion, id say youre not a code monkey.

Eric Debois
Monday, May 03, 2004

Yeah, I've felt like a "code monkey" any time I don't have control of the "what" or "how".  And even then, unless it's a really interesting problem I prefer to have control of the "what".

Monday, May 03, 2004

Forms.  The more forms you make, the more of a monkey you become. God, save me from forms.

Monday, May 03, 2004


[sorry - couldn't help myself]

[caveat: the poster works for Microsoft]

Monday, May 03, 2004

Code Monkey is more of a state of mind that a job. I've had form building jobs and decided to make an abstract framework to help me build forms more easily.

Matthew Lock
Monday, May 03, 2004

When you write the code,  you are writing some programming lines whcih can perform given task.

So when you optimize etc.. I put it in the same category.

When you figure out the requirement of your programs, it's also at minor level. Not the major level.
ie.. It's not  about what good the search engine would do to company etc.. You certainly don't want to do that..

You might want to figure out exactly what you want.  May be from 6month/2years from now.

I do the same thing 'almost' as I was doing 4 years back. Just little better and faster.  I call that survival , not progress.

Still Developer
Monday, May 03, 2004

"Code Monkey is more of a state of mind that a job."

Depends.  Some people work in a job where they are given very detailed specs and have to code it exactly to spec, with little or no flexibility or creativity allowed.  That is code monkey work and the only way to do otherwise is to convince them that you are personally capable of writing the spec, or get another job.

T. Norman
Monday, May 03, 2004

Holy cow, imagining getting such spec that I can't decide what to do. Does this really happen? Is it where they create the classes/methods and controllers and you just fill in the blanks?

I guess I work on the complete other spectrum. I NEVER get enough specs. The more sophisticated the project the sooner everyone tries to get it into the hands of the programmers. Either that or they create *specs* that are more like hungarian goulash: just word after word after paragraph after page that is completely worthless except to people who judge content by the line.  Rarely, rarely anything specific except that they'll then expect you to glean the ream. Antyime anything in a project rises to complex it's simply left for the programmers since "gosh, it must be programming stuff since we can't figure out how to organize it".

Seriously. What the OP described sounds like 99% of what I've ever seen.

I'd define a code monkey as someone who thinks specs are for sissies and before a thought could enter their head they start banging out code and when it boomerangs they just bang out more until the boomerangs stop. Such code often looks like it was written by a monkey.

Gorilla Coder
Tuesday, May 04, 2004

You guys are getting hot and bothered trying to work out the distinction between development and code monkeying.

Here's a tip. "Code monkey" is a dismissive term used by outsiders to devalue the work of developers. Developers are so dumb when it comes to their own interests that they then presume it really means something and start using it themselves.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

There are some programmers who deserve to be called code monkeys, because they literally can't program anything that works unless you give them specs down to every method, parameter, and algorithm.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

...and start using it themselves in an attempt to differentiate themselves from "them", the common herd, the great unwashed.

Surprise! To the managerial classes, we are ALL the great unwashed. Use phrases like "code monkey" and the bad reputation will come back to you like a boomerang.

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, May 04, 2004

"There are some programmers who deserve to be called code monkeys, because they literally can't program anything that works unless you give them specs down to every method, parameter, and algorithm."

Some people call that a *compiler*.

What could you possibly need to pass on to an animal after you've reached such a fine level of detail?

(I know, I know, this is how things work all over the place.  IT shops astonish me in the waste they demonstrate.  Instead of hiring one good programmer at $250K, they fill a room of cubes with a dozen $80K muddleheads who work at 1/10th speed, plop a ribbon on the whole assemblage in the form of a $140K dunce called a manager, and call it crackerjack.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Specs *ARE* for sissies.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

>>(I know, I know, this is how things work all over the >>place.  IT shops astonish me in the waste they >>demonstrate.  Instead of hiring one good programmer >>at $250K, they fill a room of cubes with a dozen $80K >>muddleheads who work at 1/10th speed, plop a ribbon >>on the whole assemblage in the form of a $140K dunce >>called a manager, and call it crackerjack.)

Maybe its a case of there not being enough good programmers. So what should they do then, take a flying leap off a cliff? The ignorance of (some)people still abounds.

Anon-y-mous Cow-ard
Tuesday, May 04, 2004

There *are* enough good programmers.  Most are simply hogtied in the quagmires I describe.  I know many folks who could easily produce all the output of their entire organizations, faster, and with higher quality.

Does that sound impossible?  You might ask "If they are so good, why aren't they producing at that level?"  How many of you programmers have sat through a daylong meeting with 7 people discussing something you could have written during that same day if left alone to concentrate?  How many are forced to endure horrid technologies or produce asinine artifacts that just slow you down without any benefit?  How many have a manager stopping by for two minute discussions just often enough to keep you from ever reaching that zone of concentration when the software just bursts out of you?  How many hours and days are lost guiding and cleaning up after the monkeys?  How many don't have direct access to the people who know what their software should do, because there are proper channels one must follow?  How many programmers have the raw talent, but have drunk the kool-aid and actually believe all that is "how things are done" or essential difficulties, never seeing a good way, never fully developing their potential.

How much of a drain on the soul must it be to deal with all that and more?  How would one run at their own best speed under such circumstance?

The numbers are there alright, but many are encumbered.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

(But the ice is slowly cracking too.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I could catch a monkey!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

"Developer vs code monkey" is terminology that displays another vestige of the idiotic backstabbing elitism that pervades programmer thinking.

My thinking is that most of us - no matter how degreed, elite, productive - are regarded as mentally retarded, stunted, dignity bereft "mini-me" trolls by others in executive and think-tank positions.  The statements of position from offshoring advocates that define all "application programming" as a mindless and menial task clearly indicate that we are regarded as as "class below" all others, and rightfully so because our job is defined as lacking all thought and discretion.

So in addition, we do it to each other by erecting elistist little definitions that basically amount to "your job is stupid, I am perfect and better than you."

At one contract a couple of years ago I synthesized a port of a majorly bloated and spaghetti coded DOD application to a training simulator. The PHBs that I contracted to regarded the excruciating effort of tool selection and strategy as mindless, self evident twaddle. "Oh, just rewrite it for Windows and get it perfect." "Oh, we've already started it and thought it through, you just code it."  Ahem... 400K lines of source code? Hello, dumb ass f*cks?!!  "Do your job, contractor, your job is mindless and self evident." Yeah, right. @$$holes. I helped this clueless, stupid client deliver a contract deliverable cost efficiently that they had no clue about. They regarded my contribution and completely menial and in fact credited it to a couple of co-ops.

The point is, I had to pull years of judgement and experience together with one hell of a lot of hard work, that was intellectually well beyond the moron EEs that ran the place. My client regarded it all as grey, amorphous goo. Even though they committed to deliver this crap w/o a clue in place as to how to do so.

Where was I, anyway? Oh, yeah. Labels suck.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I am not a code monkey! Furthermore, I am smarter than Professor Neutonium, Dexter, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Dr. Sivana and the HAL 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey" !

Mojo Jojo
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

That's the spirit!

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

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