Why Are Programmers So Mean / Rude?

Let’s face it, as programmers, we aren’t always seen as the happiest bunch. So, why are programmers so rude? Is it true that programmers are meaner than the rest of us or is that just a misconception?

Well, in this article we are going to discuss some of the most common reasons for this perception of programmers and figure out why programmers are perceived as being mean or rude individuals.

Disclaimer: Before we jump into the article, I wanted to say that the misconception that programmers are rude is, in my experience, generally false. I have met many programmers in my life and I very rarely meet someone I consider rude. They exist, but I think they are the exception rather than the norm. Except on StackOverflow of course.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the article!

1. Dunning-Kruger Effect

Let’s face it, the vast majority of our society has no idea what a programmer really does, or if they’re cut out for it. When you tell someone you’re a programmer, their minds immediately go to some guy hacking the mainframe in their favorite spy movie – or, you know, this guy.


This tends to go to some people’s heads. Although they are not nearly as capable or intelligent as they think, they overestimate their abilities. I mean, we can’t all change history.

After that, those programmers sometimes start acting rudely to others they think are below them. It seems this is mainly an issue online. As I have actually never come across a rude programmer in real life. Nor do I ever hope to!

By the way, if you aren’t a programmer, know that the majority of us are not any smarter than the average person. Nerdier, yes. Smarter, I wish…

Moral of the story? Think twice before complimenting a programmer on his intelligence!

2. Lack of Social Skills

If you didn’t know this, let me be the first to tell you that programmers are not hired based on their social skills. It’s important in a coding interview to be somewhat personable, however, it’s not the most important aspect.

Needless to say, programmers aren’t the most social bunch. We spend all day at our computers and generally limit our conversation to other programmers. We spend most of our day by ourselves because we enjoy quitely solving problems more than talking to others. Sometimes programmers are seriously lacking in social intelligence and unintentionally come across as arrogant or cold.

If you have a question or are stuck on something, just because a programmer answers bluntly or assumes you should know more than you do, doesn’t mean they are trying to be rude. They just might not understand that their response came across as rude.

So the next time you judge a programmer for being rude, try to get a feel for their general personality before you make assumptions.

3. The Question or Statement Is [Unintentionally] Rude

This brings me to the third and final reason a coder will come across as rude and I think it is where most people go wrong.

There is a good chance that the programmer is being rude because the question you are asking or the statement you are making is rude.

I must have seen thousands of questions on StackOverflow and Reddit from novice programmers that very obviously did not look up if the question has been answered before. In addition, they might not provide very much information about their problems or proofread their questions.

It is incredibly rude to ask someone to take the time out of their day to help you when you are providing next to no effort in asking for help. Programmers are busy too. I think this is one of the greatest communities in the world to provide high-quality and free support to whoever wants it. You can literally teach yourself the code for free thanks to some amazing people that put the work in.

So it can get frustrating for programmers to constantly answer questions from people that aren’t putting in their fair share of effort to learn.

Summary: Why Are Programmers So Rude?

So, why do programmers come across as mean? Well, I think it’s a pretty unjustified perception of coders. Although you do get the odd programmer that thinks they are better or more intelligent than others, I think that’s more prevalent online and not representative of programmers as a whole.

What is more likely is that the programmer you are talking to either just lacks social skills or feels that the question you are asking is frustrating to answer. That being said, pretty much any programmer I know would happily set aside an hour or so of their day to help you learn to code.

We love what we do, and we get excited when others want to learn as well. Just make sure to put the effort in yourself and be appreciative! I am personally especially more willing to help if you’re stressed out because I feel bad, and I’ve been there!

So that’s about it. The reason why programmers come across as mean at times. If you are a beginner trying to learn how to code, check out these courses, or these free courses.

Grant Darling

Grant is a full-stack / frontend software developer passionate about writing & coding. He has many years experience working in the tech industry both as a freelancer and as an employee.

The Code Bytes is all about providing people with honest information about programming. To learn more about Grant, read his about page!

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