Things that make you a good programmer

If you ever wondered if you are a good programmer (not), you might think about the following points:

1. Repeat yourself. How else would you keep yourself busy, if your customer has new requirements?

2. Re-Using code is for people who take the other side of the street if a big dog walks along. No risk, no fun. How else would you find out that the common idiom you use is really the way the job has to be done?

3. If you have a coding convention (e.g. how code has to be indented): Just ignore it. Its a good thing to have editors go crazy, when trying to automatically detect the indenting of a source file. By always confusing the editor you keep up the fun of the people, who try to change your code. It would be too boring for them, to simply edit the file, without the quiz which quoting applies to your code. Extra points for those who additionaly (to mixing tabs, spaces, 4 and 8 space, expandtab and no expandtab) write a vim modeline into their file that – by guarantee – does not match the indenting of the file.

4. If you can complicate things: Do it. Numeric indices in arrays can be exchanged by arbitrary strings, this makes your code more interesting. Especially if you have to move elements in that array. And complicated codes makes people, who don’t know it, think that you are a good programmer. One step nearer to your goal, isn’t it?

5. When working with different classes invent a system that auto-loads the classes you need. Don’t document it, that would be a risk for your job. Its not neccessary anyway, because good programmers like the riddle and finding out what gets called, where and why, is a simple but entertaining riddle. After all documenting is a bad idea as well. Especially if you make your system open source, because with a good documentation, it might be to easy for competitors to use your code to make money.

6. If you find ways to do extra function calls: Do it. It gives you the chance to refactor your code, if the customer notices that it is too slow. Great opportunity, hu?

(But, seriously: Don’t hear on me. Its just a cynical way to express my feelings.)

6 Gedanken zu „Things that make you a good programmer“

  1. And of course, if you can get away with it, run your code through an obfuscator before handing it to your customer. Keep the original only to yourself.
    This way, if they want code changes, they will need to hire you again (unless you purposefully didn't do any backup and lost your laptop with all the code on it).

    Bad thing about this hint is that I actually saw that happen.

  2. Sven,

    the bad things about the points that I've posted is that I saw them happen, too. More than once.


  3. Hey, I enjoyed your blog post. Sarcasm and cynicism of a true IT worker. 🙂

    I'm trying to conduct a survey on what makes a good programmer and would appreciate your input. If you'd encourage your readers to take the survey to, that'd be awesome!

    The survey can be found here: What Really Makes a Good Programmer Survey.


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