After years of working with developers and observing motivations - it seems I’ve somewhat generalized people into a few categories.
Please don’t balk if they aren’t 100% accurate, since everyone is different it is hard to generalize - but this shows the general trends I see of paths people follow when developing for the web.
Developers for Developers The core of the coding world. They have philosophical debates about code with each other.From this group of people came all the programming languages ( C++, PHP, Java, Ruby, etc). If they have any people skills at all you will see them leading conferences and in the lime-light. Otherwise you can find them in password protected MIRC channels and in the deep dark caverns of corporations where no business person has ever step foot.
Developers for Client-Developers They build plugins, frameworks and tools for themselves and fellow developers. The focus is on developing bits of reusable code to accomplish client work more efficiently. In the marketplace some are self-employed, yet most of these people occupying full-time positions as team leads (or normal developers who exceed employer expectations). Their philosophical debates are found to be mostly around what are the best tools to use, but also on how to write the best code. Community activity is high - as most have blogs, comment regularly on blogs and attend conferences.
Client-Developers These developers use out-of-the-box software packages and slightly modifies them to get client work done. Their focus is on doing what the boss or client tells them for the day. May listen to podcasts, or participate in community lightly via blog comments or in-frequently posted to blog hosted at Blogger.com. Will only attend a conference if it is local and 100% paid for. In the marketplace you will find them working 40 hour weeks. Prime motivating factor is family and job security.
Developers for Money These people are hack’n’mash, “developers”. You will find them grabbing dreamweaver or any WYSWYG tool to, “make a million” via affiliate programs and any idea they can get their hands on to make money. Visit their sites and see all types of ads - link ads, popup ads, pop-under ads (though some are finding smarter methods). Products are being sold because they understand the human condition and feed desire into a sale (conversion). What type of devleoper are you? I am definitely type B.