In this Wild West era of software development, rules are few and far between on how we choose tech stacks, architect applications, or manage teams. Anyone who has spent time on more than one team witnesses a wide variance of philosophies and approaches. Throughout our careers as software developers, one goal should remain constant: "Do the right thing."
Making the right choice can be difficult. As developers, we boast about choosing the right tools or taking the right direction, but easily fall prey to shortcuts when under pressure. These shortcuts are almost always more expensive in the end.
In medicine and law, professionals are heavily penalized for taking shortcuts. With a mere accusation, a doctor may be fined or lose business due to reputational harm. If a medical board proves malpractice, it may revoke that doctor’s license, ending a career. However, in the software industry, we face little to no ramifications. We see it as a right of passage for software developers to make a big mistake in production or a fail during a demonstration.
Whether I’m advising a client or writing code, I constantly ask myself: What is the best, right now? This may be choosing an older library or pattern to maintain consistency. And doing that would immediately lower the cost of future development since the patterns in the code base would be clearly defined. Similarly, as a consulting agency, we’ve turned down business when we don’t have the expertise our clients need. We don’t pretend to have skills we lack. We only accept jobs we know we can complete to the highest standard.
I leave you with this one takeaway: You have the power. Only you. If a supervisor asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense, you can push back. In software development, we often are told to keep our heads down or do as we’re told. However, you are the expert in a field with no governing body. Take ownership, use your power, be responsible.
Claude says, "You reap what you sow." I call this idea karma, that what goes around comes around.
- Anthony Walton