Friday, September 25, 2009

Duct Tape Programmers

Wednesday there Joel blogged about the first chapter of Coder's At Work, where he admired duct tape programmers that were willing to skip unit tests and code quality in order ship on time. I don't really have much to say about it that Uncle Bob and his commenters have said. I agree with just about everything Bob said except for
I found myself annoyed at Joel’s notion that most programmers aren’t smart enough to use templates, design patterns, multi-threading, COM, etc. I don’t think that’s the case. I think that any programmer that’s not smart enough to use tools like that is probably not smart enough to be a programmer period.
In an ideal world, this would be true. And as the industry matures, I think this is becoming increasingly true. However, there are still some programmers out there that aren't very talented and probably shouldn't be programming, and yet they still are. Now I'm not an advocate of making your life difficult to weed out the less talented, but our ever increasing toolbox is lowering the barriers to entry. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have a fair amount of faith in the invisible hand and if this allows businesses to get their needs met, then so be it. Just be aware there are people programming that aren't the sharpest knives in the box out there, and they may even be getting away with least for now.