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Software program engineers hate code.

Software program engineers hate code.

2023-07-08 04:28:12

That is the best-kept secret of the software program engineering career: engineers hate code. Particularly code written by different individuals. It is why they love engaged on greenfield initiatives a lot. No code, no upkeep, no complications!

Ever questioned why microservices took off in groups of all sizes? A microservice structure is the proper method to faux that the code you wrote final month not exists! Now that it has been stuffed right into a container and tucked behind a load balancer it is a service and we will neglect all about it till it breaks, then we deprecate it as legacy and change it with one thing new. Rolling inexperienced fields without end!

Obtained a query about how one in all your dependencies works? You may have a look at its implementation, or the check suite, however most engineers desire to go to the place that everybody congregates to speak about – however not have a look at – code. Stack Overflow is a superb useful resource for locating the code wanted to unravel your drawback with out having to have a look at a number of code your self!

I am certain you’ve got been suck for hours begging your colleagues to evaluation your pull request. Why do you suppose it is taking so lengthy? You are asking them to do the factor they hate most – have a look at another person’s code!

Most individuals studying this have at one level or one other accredited a non-trivial pull request with a easy “LGTM.” You bought tagged in on a foul day and did not have the time to take a correct have a look at code written by another person. You had work to do!

Just one factor can overcome engineers’ hatred of code: their love of writing code.

Software program engineers will lock themselves in a room and do nothing however write code for hours. Some neglect to eat, sleep or poop.

Notable engineers on-line make investments hours of time writing about their code, or about how they write code. Paradoxically, engineers love studying these items, even when they by no means learn the instance code hooked up!

Conferences of all types, technical and person documentation, testing, post-release monitoring, refactoring – all are widespread sources of frustration that minimize into priceless time that might in any other case be spent writing code!

Engineers will spend huge effort studying or constructing instruments to assist them write extra code. Previously couple of years, we have seen a completely new era of tooling emerge that may really write code by itself, turning 10x engineers into 1,000x engineers*!

* Scientists observing engineers utilizing AI within the wild have seen them writing 100x extra SLOC/hour!

Not often, you’ll encounter engineers who’ve discovered to mood their baser instincts and as a substitute discover a sick sort of pleasure in studying, understanding, modifying and even deleting different peoples’ code. We name these odd people “Senior Engineers.”

Senior engineers have discovered by means of hard-won expertise that writing code is the final word diminishing return.

They know that code turns into legacy the second the primary byte is saved to disk. The rolling inexperienced fields of their youth are a contented delusion, distracting from the chilly, laborious reality that each one code calls for upkeep. They’ve felt the ache of an unmaintained system breaking on the worst attainable time.

There are a restricted variety of hours within the day. The extra code that will get written, the extra issues there are to interrupt, and extra of these treasured hours will probably be taken up by upkeep.

The one logical plan of action is to attenuate the quantity of code in manufacturing at any given time. Senior engineers’ ardour for writing code has been augmented with a fair stronger want to delete it.

Code that does not exist cannot harm us, or the individuals we love.

It calls for no upkeep; it causes no downtime; it requires no testing. Senior engineers perceive that pointless code must be eradicated in any respect prices, and all new code should show its price earlier than being allowed to reside. That is a part of what drives them to pore over different peoples’ code and supply meticulous evaluation.

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This is not to say that senior engineers are cynics. There’s nonetheless magnificence to be present in creating a sublime answer to a fancy drawback. The enjoyment of creation hasn’t diminished, however it has been tempered by an understanding that much less is extra, and that each line of code they write comes at a value.

Senior engineers hate extraneous code. They hate seeing effort and time invested in constructing yet one more answer to an already-solved drawback. They hate code that does not want to exist; code that is not offering worth.

Be aware of the price that your code incurs.

Do not write new code when you should utilize, enhance or repair what already exists. Should you should write new code, write solely what that you must get the job finished.

Perceive your instruments, and the techniques your code runs on. Leverage the options of these techniques to attenuate the code that you must write, and by extension, the price that it imposes on you and your staff.


Some inventive liberties have been taken on this publish for the sake of the narrative, nonetheless the qualities described above replicate attitudes I’ve witnessed in engineers that I’ve labored with previously.

There’s extra to being a senior engineer than only a wholesome skepticism about writing code to unravel an issue, however it’s an vital high quality to develop, and can serve any engineer properly.

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