Connect with us


12 rules that a software developer must follow

Following these simple rules will help you master your skills if you are an experienced programmer and will be especially helpful at the start of youcareer path.

Programming codes on computer screen for AI technologies
Image: Unsplash

Having specific rules to perform our work helps us make better decisions than if we would make them when some inconvenience arises. 

We hope the following rules (mostly guidelines) will help you be a better developer.

1. Functional is better than elegant

What is elegant does not always work. An exciting design pattern does not necessarily have to be functional, and the fact that it is a fashionable pattern is not a reason to implement it. 

2. Redesigning over and over again does not work

computer screen instructional design
Image: Unsplash

As programmers, we always want to innovate, and the code we wrote yesterday seems old and outdated today, and we want to apply the new design pattern we read about minutes ago.

This is not necessarily bad, but for work, it complicates things by adding code to what could be a simple solution without so much fuss.

Some people want the perfect application to implement change after change, even if it is useless or removed or never used a week later.

Some people want to work for the sake of working, meeting hours, and not for fundamental objectives.

3. Be realistic when estimating times

Estimating how long it will take to do a job is not an exact science. It is the most challenging thing to do, except when deadlines are imposed, then you avoid the task of estimating times.

If you are to finish on Friday, your estimate is worthless, even if the job will take longer. But let’s go back to the case where we have to estimate the time for a task. You may know the requirements, but the conditions change.

It is good to know that nobody is right about development times. You have to be realistic, don’t put weeks when you can do it in days, or don’t estimate days when it may take you a month.

4. Have a plan

computer on table with green plant
Image: Unsplash

Do not start programming without a plan. You cannot place a single line of code without knowing what you want to do. Without a plan, programming becomes highly complicated.

Think about it a lot before you start pounding away at the keyboard.

5. Test your code

Nothing frustrates a tester or user more than a feature failing at the first click. That is why it is essential to perform automatic or manual code tests.

No developer likes to test. “Hey, that already works,” we think. But we must understand that testing is essential. Let’s respect the testers’ or users’ time.

6. We don’t know everything

If you have any experience in the world of technology, you know how broad that field is.

And in programming, we have several programming languages, on those programming languages, we have several frameworks, and on those frameworks, we have several versions.

We know that each programmer has their style. Well, there are several “several” in this text. You always have to learn. There is a new technique or a way to approach a problem you might not have known before.

So, my developer friend, remember that you don’t know everything about everything.

7. Consistency

laptop on table with lines of code
Image: Unsplash

Consistency in software is a crucial issue in software development. It refers to maintaining the nomenclature in the code and database, either in your project or an existing one.

You have to be consistent, and that requires discipline. Personal and collaborative.

8. Shortcuts are necessary

With experience, you realize that there are times when it is mandatory or necessary to take a shortcut. Writing clean, simple code that solves our problems is not always possible.

An unfinished wall is as functional as a tiled wall. And if your deadline runs out, why waste time learning how to put them up?

If we can solve it in an “ugly but functional” way, let’s do it, and let’s not look for the “good, nice and cheap” that sometimes does not exist or is not always cheap.

Sometimes you can’t deal with a challenging task for many reasons: lack of knowledge, time, or practice.

You ask yourself repeatedly, “how do I do my programming assignment“?

If you understand that you need help and don’t want to mess up all the work, you can always find a solution through an expert or professional help service.

9. Take responsibility for your mistakes

You are going to make mistakes, and you will make many of them, and you have to take responsibility for them. And taking responsibility does not only mean accepting them but learning from them.

So you will not make mistakes again. At least the ones you made the first time, you will make others. Do not waste time on excuses but on options for solving it.

10. Learn new things

motioning hands in front of a computer
Image: Unsplash

The new is the constant in the world of technology. The day you stop learning, you stop growing. As Bruce Lee said: “learning is a process of discovery, a never-ending process.”

11. Automate what you can

If you have repetitive tasks, automate them. Those repetitive tasks are tedious. Automate. That will free up a chunk of time that you can use on more valuable things.

And by automating, the human factor is removed: we reduce the propensity to make mistakes.

12. Master your tools

Jeff Bezos said: “First we changed our tools, then our tools changed us.” Programmers, without tools, are nothing. Knowing the tools we use, and using them correctly, will help us do our work efficiently.

I’m talking about plugins, IDE, command lines, text editors, etc. Once we have chosen our tools, we should take the time to get to know them, experiment, and master them as soon as possible.


Following these simple rules will help you master your skills if you are an experienced programmer and will be especially helpful at the start of your developer career path. Good luck.

Have any thoughts on this? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

More in Development