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Are you proud of your code?

Anonymous Coward writes | more than 7 years ago

Programming 6

An anonymous reader writes "I have a problem and I am hoping /. group therapy is the cure, so get on with the +5 comments, post haste! I am downright embarrassed by the quality of my work; specifically, my code. It is buggy, slow, fragile, and a nightmare to maintain. Documentation, requirements, automated tests? Does not exist. Do you feel the same way? If so, then what is holding you back from realizing your full potential? More importantly, what if anything are you planning to do about it? This picture, which many of you have already seen, captures several project failure modes. It would be humorous if it weren't so depressingly true. I enjoy programming and have from a young age (cut my teeth on BASIC on an Apple IIe). I have worked for companies large and small in a variety of languages and platforms. Sadly the one constant in my career is that I am assigned to projects that drift, seemingly aimlessly, from inception to a point where the client runs out of funding and the project is abandoned. Like many young and idealistic university graduates I hoped to spend my life programming passionately, but ten years later I look in the mirror and see a whore. I'm just doing it for the money. Have any developers here successfully lobbied their company to stop or cut back on 'cowboy coding' and adopt best practices? I'm not talking about the methodology-of-the-week, I'm referring to good old fashioned advice like keeping SQL out of the UI layer. For the big prize: has anyone convinced their superiors that the customer isn't always right and saying no once in awhile is the best course of action? Thanks in advance for your helpful advice."

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Hate to say it, but... (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 7 years ago | (#21635757)

Perhaps you should seek employment where programming isn't your primary job, or work for a company that doesn't rely of software development as a primary means of generating revenue.

I've worked a lot of jobs where my job title wasn't "programmer" or "developer", but I was given a large amount of freedom to develop quality in-house tools to solve very specific data manipulation or communications problems. Some of these internal tools became successful small projects in their own right, and I got the satisfaction of knowing that I was able to invest my coding time in a quality piece of work that met a goal solidly.

Work for UTC (1)

arnwald (468380) | more than 7 years ago | (#21636055)

Seriously, they are large and it was a pleasure to work for them.


Real-life programming (1)

kabz (770151) | more than 7 years ago | (#21636683)

I'm a real-life programmer, and sure, there are always times when you might get in a project that has some problems. Personally, if you can demonstrate your ability, you *will*, if you are good end up in a position where you can have a large enough influence to do some of the things you want.

If you're a good programmer, you should get to a place where you will be mentoring more junior programmers and from this point, you can be a good position to do some great work.

Good Luck!

Time to make some changes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21637233)

You, sir, are exactly where I was a few years back. I drifted into a position with a midsize software development shop, where I proceeded to try my best to shine. Unfortunately, political reality reared its ugly head early on, and I was pegged as a boat-rocker by the crew of the S.S. Management. I was free with well-meaning, constructive criticism, and I paid for it.

I spent years there, becoming more and more jaded and disgusted with the people I was working with - and with myself for staying. It must have been hell to work with me. In the end, I had no one to blame for my daily misery but myself. I was stuck and couldn't wean myself from the paycheque. I solved *that* problem by getting fired.

It was the single best thing that could have happened to me. I suddenly remembered who I was again. After several months of struggling to make ends meet, I managed to get into a consulting position. I found that my bad experiences at my previous position gave me a great deal of insight into the feelings and workings of staff on "death march" projects, as well as managers trying to deal with them. I'm now doing very well coming into companies and helping them fix big development messes.

When I got canned, I never thought I'd do software again. I was done. The thing is, I really do love writing software. I even like working with non-technical management (my god, did I say that?!?) What I'm trying to say is, don't give up on the field if you love it. Find a new angle, swallow your pride, take responsibility for your own failings, and make it work the way you know you can. All experiences are valuable, even nasty ones.

No PHB, company, co-worker, or situation can be held responsible for holding you back. You're it. Change what you have to change and BE HAPPY. Other people will notice, and rewards will follow.

What I want to know is.... (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 7 years ago | (#21637557)

Why in the world you're bothering to ask /. about this? You've admitted that you are aware that your code sucks, you know that it can be improved. I also find it hard to believe that after 10 years working in the industry the quality of your code hasn't improved.

If so, then what is holding you back from realizing your full potential? More importantly, what if anything are you planning to do about it?

I think this is a question you should be asking yourself. If you know what is wrong with your work, strive to improve it! Writing bad code? Examine other developer's code to see how you can improve your own. No documentation or testing? Start documenting and testing. These are skills that you should've picked up in college if you didn't sleep through class.

Like many young and idealistic university graduates I hoped to spend my life programming passionately, but ten years later I look in the mirror and see a whore. I'm just doing it for the money.

It's all well and good to want to get paid decently for your work, but if the only reason you're doing it is for money then you're doing it for the wrong reason, and it's probably time to find something you enjoy doing more.

Seriously, it sounds like you're unsure of what you're doing with your life. If you're unhappy with your career consider switching to something else. If you want to keep working as a developer then do everything you can to to turn in quality work and try to regain the passion for your job.

Teach to Learn (1)

BiscuitCreek (1201023) | more than 7 years ago | (#21641943)

I'm usually mentoring a new programmer who I hope will eventually take over the code I'm writing. I write with that in mind. Explaining along the way makes the code better. Structure helps newbies. I do get lots of nice comments about my code. And it generally works and lasts. Teach someone to write code and your own code will get lots better. Pet peeve about other folks code - saving a few letters makes functions, variables, etc absolutely mystifying. Classic... "OPhone". We spent days working on this thinking it was "Office Phone", turns out it was "Old Phone", but the previous programmer didn't waste the "l" or the "d" so we haven't run out yet.
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