I’ve had this sense that there are 2 different types of web developers: artists and robots.

“Artists” can think abstractly and design solutions that really feel good. Customers enjoy using their websites and applications. When you look at how this person’s work is designed under the hood, it often makes sense and feels good as well, though it may not always be “perfect.”

“Robots” obsess over details that often don’t end up mattering to anyone other than themselves. They often worry more about getting something to work than how it’s going to work for the end user. When you look at what this person’s work under the hood, it tends to be over-engineered.

Artists are very hard to control and measure. It’s also harder to keep them happy and interested when they’re in your employ.

Robots are easy to control and measure. They’re happy to check off items in a bug tracker and generally get things working, though their products are often an ugly experience (not always).

A couple of points.

  1. The first group is more valuable and rare. It is a challenge to keep artists happy, but you should do everything in your power to do so.
  2. There are trade-offs involved with hiring either.

It depends on what you want and need, I suppose.