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Nobody Cares About Your "Perfect" Code: Change Your Perspective
The real job of a software developer is delivering change and they need that perspective
Dear Software Developers,
I'm sure you've been there. The gleaming eyes, the proud smile, the feeling of accomplishment as you finish writing that perfect piece of code. You've applied everything you've learned: Test-Driven Development (TDD), pair programming, SOLID principles, and more. You've meticulously crafted a masterpiece that would make Da Vinci proud if he were a coder.
Now let's face reality: nobody cares about your "perfect" code, and that sentiment isn't about to change.
The Illusion of Perfect Code
You may argue that perfect code leads to a more stable, efficient, and maintainable product. And in a vacuum, you'd be right. But software development doesn't happen in a vacuum. You're not just writing code; you're part of a complex ecosystem where human emotions, organizational structures, and market pressures all play a role.
The irony is, writing code isn't really your job. You may think it is, and that's where the disconnect begins.
The Real Job: Solving Problems and Delivering Change
Your actual job as a software developer is far more complicated and nuanced than just churning out lines of code. You're a problem solver. You're a change agent. You're a facilitator of growth for both your company and your users.
This part of the job is super difficult, mainly because everyone hates change. And we, as humans, never seem to change the right things.
You changed the wrong feature in the software.
You forgot to change something crucial.
The users don't like what you changed.
The executive team is scared to change the software.
How often do you work on something that doesn’t get rolled out because everyone is scared… of the changes.
The True Challenge of Software Development
The hardest part of software development isn't the code itself. It's knowing what to change and what problems to solve. Even harder is actually getting the rest of the company and the users to adopt and embrace those changes.
Even if your code is a shining example of perfection, odds are, you've changed the wrong things. Or perhaps, the change was right, but the way it was presented was wrong. Either way, it's a hard pill to swallow, but nobody likes change, and your job, ironically, is to deliver change.
The reality is even if your code is perfect, the change you deliver won’t be lots of the time.
The Shift in Perspective
As a software developer, it's vital to understand the end result of what you do. How the code works only matters to you and perhaps your immediate team. The "change" that it causes to the users and the business is what truly matters to them.
If you want to be a better developer, you always have to think about things from the perspective of the product and your users. Your code changes their life every day.
Is the change positive? Does it make their lives better or more difficult? Have you communicated the reasons for the change? These are questions that should be at the forefront of your mind, not just whether your code adheres to the latest best practices.
Perfection in code is an admirable goal, but it's not the end game. In the pursuit of technical excellence, we must never lose sight of the people, the real-world challenges, and the changes we are tasked with delivering.
Remember, nobody cares about how your "perfect" code works, but they do love the thoughtful, user-centered changes it facilitates. Embrace the complexity, focus on solving real problems, and always keep the end-users in mind. That's the path to truly successful software development.
Your code may change their life every day. Make sure it's a change they'll welcome.