What are some of the worst advice to give to a colleague developer? 🙄


"Hard code it this time, nobody would know. You can send a real fix later."

Well, "later" never came and the hard code cost us a lot of money later. The above is a real confession from one of the developers.

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j's photo

Since in my experience 99% of advice is contextual, even the 'hardcoded' example to some degree.

Bad advice in my opinion would be:

Don't care what you deliver, it's just a job

You should always care about what you do. Otherwise don't do it in the first place. At least as a developer in these times, it's not like you're starving or have to do slave labor.

Don't ask questions, just do it.

Asking question is actually one of the most important things you have to do as a programmer. Customers have pictures in their minds and they implicitly assume things, we all do.

It has to be perfect.

Perfection again is contextual. Perfect for what? It has to work and be maintainable. Usually we could say it has to be the simplest solution possible.

We are artists.

I hate this term since art is not only about being creative it is also about freedom. You are a technician if you want to be an artist that's fine too, but in general the needs of the customers should be fulfilled not your need for freedom of expression. to quote goethe 'Kunst ist eine Tochter der Freiheit - Art is the daughter of freedom'

Those are some examples, but in the end most of those things are transferable to other jobs.

I am counting on mainly idealistic examples to pop up to this question. I could give them too, but in my experience bad advice is always about context so it's hard to generalize.

Hardcoded quick & dirty solutions are stupid, implementing a complete plugin system for 1 if condition is also stupid. So maybe just isolate the code part in a way it's easy to refactor.

I can go for bad design concepts .... but that's not so much bad advice. Anyhow, that's the problem with being an old developer who had multiple positions, roles and projects. The only real bad advice I know is 'do not think on your own, do not care about what you do'. This usually will lead to some problem.

Gergely Polonkai's photo

This applies to newcomers (junior or not):

Just start coding, you will be fine in a few weeks.

In fact, during that few weeks the newcomer will probably get so confused that they might even leave the company. I have lost great candidates to this before and even left a job because of this attitude.

Instead, during the first few days other employees could have onboard the newcomer so they stay and get productive within a week or so. “Just start coding” is usually not a good advice, unless the newcomer has to work on a totally new project (and even then it can cause frustration).

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