Coding lessons from university

Dare Obasanjo, smart code guy and occasional punching bag for the anti-Microsoft people, is collecting lists of Three Things I Learned About Software In College. I posted mine in a comment on his blog, but decided to reproduce them here. Note that these are not lessons you learned 10 or 20 years later, but what you discovered back then.

I coded a lot in university — some of it for pay — but fortunately, I didn’t study computer science or engineering. Here are my major lessons:

  1. Readable code goes further and survives longer than optimized code, especially once you’re no longer the one maintaining it (or if you have to come back to it two years later).

  2. If you write code that makes you feel like a genius, throw it out — you’ll realize later that it’s crap. If you write code that makes you feel like a competent tradesman, you’re on the right track.

  3. No matter how smart you are, everyone — even the most incompetent loser of a coder — knows at least one thing you don’t. It’s a good idea to listen.

Note: If you want to record your own list of three things, please leave it as a comment to Dare’s original posting, not here.

About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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