The 6 kinds of people in Computer Science and Engineering

Computer Science and Engineering can mean different things for different people.

For some, it is the subject to explore the beauty of algorithms while for another group, it may be all about automating the boring stuff. No matter how you perceive it, your time in University is to refine and discover your potential in the field. Buzzwords such as Machine Learning and Blockchain are quite often heard and you will find out that many of the engineers specialized in such cutting edge technologies were once upon a time college students like you, exploring options and tinkering about.

So how is it that they made it there? And what can we learn from them?

I have come to realize that there mainly exists six kinds of people in Computer Science and Engineering at Universities. We at FOSSMEC believe there lies potential for each kind of person in the world of open source. So sit tight as we take you through the path of realization, and compare to see where you lie.

Disclaimer: Personal opinions can be biased and wrong. Feel free to comment your thoughts :) Also this does not have to restrict only to Computer Science and Engineering students. In fact, this is open to anyone open minded and eager to see wonders of Open Source.

Type A

They are good — let them discover their path

These folks are at the top of the chain. After a lot of perseverance and dedication, they have climbed to the pinnacle. They have insights about how to proceed and lead the way after years of experience in mastering the field. They motivate and support their fellow beings, with enthusiasm and positivity. Google their name and you are bound to find their entire achievement gallery shining bright.

Those in this category have seen it all and know how to get things done. We all have seen a type A person at some point in our lives, as speakers at conferences or as inspirational leaders who use their technical knowledge not to show dominion, but rather, to help one get better.

Shoot any question at them and they will have a word or two to say about it. Chances are that companies badly require their skills because the world deserves that calibre. Each person of this kind is unique in his or her own way. Siraj Raval is a great example in my opinion; check out his awesomeness in his YouTube Channel and his famous #100DaysOfMLCode.

Some of them probably have their own start-ups, because as how SKG said in his TEDx Talk, the best talent is not available for hire”

Reaching this level while still being in college requires extensive dedication and hard work, which itself can take several years for many. So not many would be found of this sort. But the ones who do fall in this category shine bright for everyone else to easily identifies.

Type B

They are good — let them gain followers

These guys have taken the extra mile to find their life defining path and specialize further to become proficient. Errors and mistakes keep happening, but this time recovery is quite rapid. They can be found at events and competitions to figure out where they stand on a global platform. With a growing admiration from fellow coders , these guys amaze and impress thousands of followers.

Check out their GitHub repositories and you will find several stars. Also, their progress chart will be blazing green with varying intensities. Have a look at their laptops and you will find many stickers on it, from the various conferences and events that they attended. They also have probably interned at top notch companies and has a good sense of how the field works. At Hackathon’s, these guys steal the show with their innovative ideas and well thought out implementations. Experience speaks for itself, after all.

Also, far beyond development skills such as Web Development, they have a strong foundation on Algorithms and have the knack to develop optimal solutions for common problems. This will keep them at a greater level compared to most of the others in the field and can leverage this factor to shine bright in creativity.

The only factor lacking is the confidence in oneself to lead the way and show others how to explore the field. The growing admiration from public will in time take them to Type A category once they embrace the potential within to lead the way and take on greater responsibilities.

Type C

They started — Gaining consistency and experience

So these folks are at the other end of the spectrum where they work solo and quite, below the radar and undetected by many. They started a couple of months ago and now are gaining consistency. StackOverFlow and Google search history will show an assortment of errors to find recovery solutions. What once started as a simple interest now is an intense passion for reaching the peak in that field.

They can be spotted at corners of metro stations, or public parks on a bench quietly coding, away from the busy world but very much engrossed into the lines of code. Is it an addiction? Maybe, but then passion can be contagious too. These guys attend technical clubs and listen to speakers to pick up tips and tricks to improve themselves.

Don’t be mistaken though, these guys are still exploring options and have not yet decided what exactly to focus sharp on. Hopefully in the next couple of months they will discover what truly interests them, and maybe think of hobby projects that merge multiple domains to generate amazing ideas and solutions.

What is left is to do more projects and participate in events to discover potential to think out of the box and find solutions. That comes with more experience and tinkering to find one’s forte. What these people need is technical support to find and discover methods that they never knew previously existed. Socializing and improving technical knowledge is the key to cross this realm, to the Type B.

Type D

They started — hitting hurdles and roadblocks

Good news! These guys have decided it is high time they explored the wondrous and curious world of coding.

Bad news? Several and several errors with exponentially increasing learning curve to climb.

These folks are the ones who have decided it is time to enter the game and made up the mind to take the first few baby steps. Having defeated the procrastination, these guys are ready to tinker, but are quite sensitive to varying results. At times the impostor syndrome may kick in when they hit road blocks that they spent hours trying to solve but mere few seconds when someone more experienced just glances at it.

This is the hardest one of the categories, because failure comes almost everyday but success once in a blue moon. Putting it away may seem to be the easy way out, but the persistent ones reap benefits for their patience. What these people need is motivational support to stay optimistic and continue down their track to start seeing results and get better. In time, they will reach Type C.

Type E

Not yet started — still figuring things out

Meet the vast majority of you readers, filtering through the vast assortment of options and not sure where to start. Or maybe out right jumping to the conclusion that they are not good enough to even try. Self doubt and the risk of failing hinders them from trying.

What they need is someone to talk to and convince them that it is not too late, and that every master was once a student. Time is what takes to climb up the ladder, and one can realize that only if the first step is taken.

Also even if they are ready, the Google searches and varying degree of Quora answers would confuse them to even make a decision of what to do. In such situations, all it takes is a leap of faith and to explore a domain whose final product piques your interest and leaves you intrigued enough to get your fingers messy trying to fiddle about and enjoy in the process.

As hypocritical as this may seem, I consider myself to be of this category and take the stance to say that Web-Development via freeCodeCamp is a good starting point. Hope all goes smoothly so that I can reach at least Type C before I graduate from University.

Type F

On an entirely different track, a new path

The sixth and final type, the ones who have their hearts fixed on a different trajectory. It may be anything, from music, art, marketing, civil service etc. It would be naive to think that everyone who learns Engineering become an Engineer. Sometimes people discover their inner call later on and switch tracks. Though many may initially frown upon that, in time people will accept and if you are great at what you do, you will be well appreciated!

To put it in short, these people have an unwavering passion for another domain and that is commendable when compared to the confused folks of Type E. Everything has its time to shine.

So how does Open Source guide all six?

So to put it in perspective, these are the differentiating factors:

  1. The difference between A and B is the confidence level.

2. The difference between B and C is experience.

3. The difference between C and D is consistency rate.

4. The difference between D and E is the risk of failing before trying.

5. The difference between E and F is decision made to learn in the mind.

For those who have reached E, the goal of your time in University should be to climb up all the way, at least to Type B. To make this happen there are mainly two steps:

  1. Reach out to the technical clubs in your locality and effectively participate in discussions, free of the fear of judgement.
  2. Make an effort to help a fellow being get better at coding by connecting her with the solution she needs.

But setting just a track is barely half the work done, so here we present you the ways on how open source community can help each type get better.

For Type E, there are websites like freeCodeCamp, an open source collaborative end result, that has a simple layout to ensure one can read up and be convinced of the success rate of the trajectory. Also reading from open source forums and discussions, one can understand the trajectory people took.

For Type D, there are a lot of open sourced tutorials and lessons to refer and get better in coding at GitHub. Beginner friendly tasks are there that are oriented to help you learn how to be a part of the community and make your first few commits to the system. If you hit road blocks, chances are someone is more than ready to help you, but the question is would you reach out and ask? Open Source community has your back.

For Type C, there are several open sourced projects to which one can contribute and make an impact in its overall progress. It might seem scary at times, but with consistency and dedication you can see how easy it is to find answers and get exposure to the real world out there, via the internet.

For Type B, you need specialized tools and applications to facilitate and support in the development phase of the product. Open Sourced alternatives make the entire process easier, and you can read from open source blogs to stay updated with recent trends.

For Type A, the world needs thought leaders and open source has a lot of opportunities for those of calibre to stand up and take the open source enthusiasm to their locality via local events such as mini-DebConf or Open Source challenges to bring out the best within peers and coders.

So what about type F? Yes we have something in store for you folks too! Finding the right tools for your work requires developers who listen to you and understand your requirement. These are free and need not be paid for, a huge gain for many starting artist who cannot afford expensive complementary tools. A good example would be Krita, an open source alternative to many image editing tools.

Open Source application developers also take the extra mile to listen to your requirements via the open source thread of comments, and come up with the updates to meet your requirements! Isn’t this better than suggesting improvements to other applications that take several more months before even acknowledging it?


So no matter where you stand, take a minute to appreciate how one can discover their path up the ladder. Embrace the collective support of open source, to empower yourself to reach the skies.

Together, Open Source can empower everyone to reach their best self!

If you liked this article, kindly help us by filling in this form as we are on a pursuit to help each of the six kinds, and your inputs could give us the fuel we need to make this happen.

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Image Credits: From Arpith S, a gamer-guitarist-animal lover who also happens to have a flair in designing. Feel free to drop a mail to him to show your love for this creativity: arpiths@gmail.com

FOSSMEC is the Open Source Community of Govt. Model Engineering College, and this is part of our series to educate and indicate the potential Open Source has in our lives. Feel free to reach out to us at foss@mec.ac.in