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Got your attention? Good. It really doesn’t.

Developer’s, in general, are always afraid to let other developers see they’re code. They are afraid they won’t measure up. Since 90% (or better) of the world’s developers are male, maybe that insecurity of what’s under the covers carries over into development. Maybe we just DEFINE ourselves too much by our profession and our coding prowess. I am as guilty as anyone. I am always afraid someone will look at code I’ve written and think that I am a fraud. They’ll look at my tests and get the idea that I don’t know what I am doing.

There are two main problems with this approach:

Un-Critiqued Code Doesn’t Get Any Better

If you are truly serious about getting better at coding, the best and surest way is to let other people thrash it. Let others download it, play with it, give you feedback and send you patches. You have to have a thick skin, because some criticism will be blunt and sometimes just plain hurtful. Understand that even underneath the crap-crusted exterior of a complete flame, may be a small golden nugget of information that might change the way you code for the better. Don’t be afraid to wipe the poo away.

They’re Going To Do It To You Anyway

Every group has it’s assholes. The development community has quite a few, and they are a flatulent bunch. They will blow wind about every aspect of your approach from the initial architecture to the final execution. Again, take all that in, wipe off the muck and see if there is anything useful. If not, feel free to ignore them, if so, in a year you’ll be seeing that same asshole commenting somewhere else on the blogosphere about someone else’s raggedy approach. Be assured that they are not moving forward as fast as you, if they are only giving advice and never taking it.

Be True To Yourself

So back to my original statement: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you’re doing.” Put your code out in the world as your approach not trying to purport yourself as an expert, and you’ll see that you get a lot of great advice from lots of great people who were once right where you are now. Even if all you do is ask another coder you know or work with to review your code, you’ll reap whirlwinds of benefit.

Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 3:46 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: It Doesn’t Matter If You Know What You’re Doing

# re: It Doesn’t Matter If You Know What You’re Doing
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This is challenging to do in practice because of the exact reasons you mention, which might be summed up as simply "ego." Treating code objectively, without ego and critiquing it in a social context can only lead to improvement and success.
Left by Gustavo on Nov 16, 2009 12:24 AM

# re: It Doesn’t Matter If You Know What You’re Doing
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Boy, I'm glad to hear this, because I really don't know what I'm doing. I've started a blog post series about learning BDD and the SOLID principles. It is my attempt at making my code public and trying to get feedback. So far, it's been a great experience.

http://murrayon.net/2009/11/anagram-code-kata-bdd-mspec.html
Left by Mike Murray on Nov 17, 2009 12:13 PM

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