by Penny C
I was reading an article about how certain personality may be more suited for different cycle of SDLC. I am sure most of us familiar with the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), but I will briefly list down the different personality traits and these are pretty much description I got out the article.
Extrovert (E) – Talkative, outgoing.
Introvert (I) – Quiet, reserved and keep to themselves.
Sensitive (S) – Tends to absorb information in series of facts
Intuitive (N) – Tends to absorb information in abstraction and likes solving new problems
Thinking (T) – Makes decisions logically and principal oriented.
Feeling (F) – subjective and possess strong interpersonal skills
Judging (J) – Extremely organized
Perceiving (P) – Adaptable and spontaneous
This past week in class we went over the SDLC and UML and we all know that there are stages to developing a software system (including web). The article stated that if people were to be able to fit their personality into each stage’s job duties, most of problems that plague the software engineering industry would be solved. The article didn’t go into that those problems are…However, the article also had a disclaimer stating that MBTI only points to career preference through personality trait test but doesn’t guarantee career success and that personality has impact on job retention and a successful career. So I assume the problem that plague the software engineering industry is turn over rate.
According to the article, system analysis stage (system analysts) requires a lot of human interaction as some of the user requirements are collected through interviews, so the author claims that personality type E and F are better suited to work in system analysis stage. Extroverts are comfortable starting conversations and outgoing which will prompt users to open up and people with “F” personality traits are supposed to have strong interpersonal skill which is an important asset when the job requires a person to be in constant communication with other people. Software designers take the user requirements and be able to picture a bird’s eye view of the system and identify the key components. Designers need to be patient and be persistent because software designing is not a “do it one time” process because designer’s job takes a lot of iterations. Therefore, the author claimed that N (intuitive types) and T (thinkers) and P (perceiving) are probably best suited to be system designers. Intuitive types are able to think and absorb information through abstraction which comes in handy when you have to picture the whole system from reading the requirements. Thinkers are good at making logical decisions and P types are good at adapting. As for software programmers, the author said T, S, and I types are the best match. Programmers must be able to think logically through the top down process and need to be able to think of details as well as work independently. Once the programmers are done, the system needs to be tested. Best testers, according to the article, are J and S types. J(judging) types are highly organized and S(sensitive) types work with facts. Testers need to be highly organized because the system has to be tested for all functions, often times each function has to be isolated from others and then add on layers to be able to find bug and debug. Lastly, maintenance of the software system requires people who are going to be able to adapt to changing environment and also who are observant as system requires updates and changes as system needs to evolve with changing environment. So for the maintenance job, the authors said S(sensitive) and P (perceiving) types are good fit. The author claims that personality makes a difference in success of a project or even a career and author concluded the whole SDLC process requires multitude of different type of personality to complete a job.
I am sure, all of us ask ourselves at some point “what kind of jobs will I be able to work and build a career on?’ I agree with the author that personality trait does have heavy influence on whether you will be able to hold down certain type of job. If you are a type of person who doesn’t like talking to people, you definitely won’t last in the jobs where you have to interact with people (retail, sales and in this case system analysis). Can you imagine a programmer who is not detail oriented or cannot understand the logical process of requirements? What a disaster!! If a person who cannot work independently and doesn’t finish the assigned portion on time, the rest of the team will be waiting and program will never get done which will mean customer dissatisfaction and additional overhead costs. Tester has to document all the findings and debugging process. Imagine a tester, who is not organized…incomplete documentation or not testing functions carefully will probably result in bad products. I remember when I used to work as a QA, I had to test for every function log the date and time, the findings and report to the programmers. I worked for a company that sold hardware and software to convert video (VHS) to DVD’s. We had to watch for lip sync and record when it becomes out of sync, down the minute and second. I understand what author meant when he said the testers need to be highly organized because programmers have to fix the issues and it’s a little easier to pin point where the problem may be if the QA can be very specific.
Although I agree with the author that personality trait may influence a preference in jobs which may also lead to successful career, I don’t think personality trait (certain type) of a person is edged in stone. I believe that people can learn to adapt and change themselves. For example, introvert person can learn to become more outgoing. That person may not become a really outgoing and friendly person, but could become less isolated. The reason why I brought up the personality traits with relation to SDLC is that I found myself thinking of the career prospect and where I could fit into this huge field of CIS that would make decent money and a career. And I thought of system analysts job.
Where do you fit into?
Capretz, L. F., & Ahmed, F. (2010). Making sense of software development and personality types. IT Professional Magazine, 12(1), 6-6-13. doi:10.1109/MITP.2010.33
(n.d.). Meyers-briggs training. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.casadaptive.com/mbti-class.html