Hacker vs Developer vs Engineer vs Mathematician

How different are hackers, developers, engineers, and mathematicians?

First of all, all have in general deep knowledge in their practice areas! But their approaches are different. The hacker is for example mostly goal oriented on a short timeframe. In contrast a mathematician needs perfectionism for a formal proof of correctness which is time-consuming. Developers methodology and engineers precision are in the middle of these relations who are mostly facing complexity in the context of automotive. But looking closer to their core competencies then all four are much closer as comparing them with designers or sellers.

These four different personalities have a very different history and focus in car manufacturing. This might be one reason why we get frequently the impression that these four are working against each other in automotive companies. But they have to collaborate much closer to successfully build together the future connected vehicles.

Today, hackathons are very popular in the automotive industry, e.g. the “codeFEST8” from Volkswagen. Some of such a kind of hackathons have a mixed focus on hackers and developers. Some provides just one hour challenges where hackers can just code against test cases to successfully pass the challenge as fast as possible instead of developing against a specified problem statement. Yes, the automotive industry has to promote competencies and new thinking which is still very unknown in the automotive history. But is this not more a working against each other style instead of bringing jointly hackers, developers, engineers, and mathematicians together to build the connected vehicle or new mobility concept?

For example, only the collaboration between hackers, developers and mathematicians could create the world record of the shortest C program out of 132 characters to compute 15,000 decimal places of the mathematical constant pi:


Is that valuable? No. Does it make fun? Yes. Could that be achieved without collaboration of the different competencies? Most likely not!

Now we should start to think about the possibilities creating contests where the four different personalities should work jointly together to reshape the mobility industry!

In Japan IBM is launching a Bluemix Contest to jointly work inside the vehicle, related to the vehicle and beyond the vehicle. We are looking forward for the outcome.

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