Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It’s not your code, but it is your opportunity

I occasionally hear the developer say “my code”, as in “I’ll check in my code at the end of next week”, or “My code doesn’t need unit tests”.
In one sense, I want developers to think “this is my code” so they take pride in doing the best job possible. But really, it’s not your code, it’s the company’s code – they’re paying for it, and often legally they own it (i.e. it would be illegal to take chunks of code you wrote at one company and either privately sell it, or check it into another company’s source code repository).
This perspective really changes the discussion, i.e. “The company would like their code to be checked-in on a regular basis”, or “The company would like their code to be properly tested”.
However, it is the developer's "opportunity to learn" – i.e. the company keeps the code, but the developer keeps the improved skill from writing that code.

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