5 signs you’re being a bad developer

Wan Peninsula
Wan Peninsula
7 months ago

5 signs you’re being a bad developer

In the world of software development, it's vital to continually refine and improve your skill set. No developer wants to fall prey to bad habits or become complacent in their growth. However, sometimes such habits can creep in unknowingly, affecting your work and stunting your growth potential. Here are five signs that might indicate you're walking the path of a bad developer, and ways to avoid them:

1. Not Reading Documentation

Picture this: you're assembling a new piece of furniture, and you decide to toss the instruction manual aside, thinking you've got it all figured out. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well, the same goes for software development and documentation.

Documentation is like the instruction manual for software development. It's your go-to guide for understanding the ins and outs of different components, systems, or tools. It offers insights, helps prevent errors, and gives you examples of how things should work.

Many developers tend to overlook documentation, considering it tedious or unnecessary. 

Here's the lowdown on why many developers give documentation the cold shoulder:

Learning New Skills: We've all been there – trying to pick up a new programming language or diving into unfamiliar technologies. It's tempting to skip the official documentation and opt for quick fixes like YouTube tutorials or online articles.

These shortcuts can be handy, no doubt, but here's the catch: they should complement, not replace, official documentation. Why? Because combining both sources can give you a deeper understanding and lead to more innovative and effective solutions. Plus, when you're building your skills, thorough documentation for programming languages and frameworks is like a treasure trove of knowledge, they are invaluable for gaining a strong foundation in underlying principles.

Project or Task Documentation: Now, think about a project or task you're working on. Ignoring documentation here can be a recipe for chaos. It's like trying to cook a complex recipe without reading the instructions – you're bound to miss crucial details.

Skimming or outright ignoring documentation can lead to misunderstandings, bugs, and inefficiencies in your code resulting in suboptimal solutions and increased maintenance efforts. It's like trying to assemble that piece of furniture without the manual – you might end up with a wobbly table.

Whether you're learning new skills or tackling a project, documentation is your trusty guide. It's not something to shove in a drawer and forget about. Recognizing its importance and making it a part of your development process can level up your skills, improve your code quality, and transform you into a more effective and reliable developer. So, next time you're tempted to skip the manual, remember – in the world of software development, documentation is your best friend.

2. Writing Code That Just Works

Let's talk about writing code that does more than just the job at hand. Sure, getting your code to function is important, but there's a whole world of goodness beyond that.

Context:  It's like building a house that looks great on the outside but has a shaky foundation. Your code may function now, but its quality matters, too. Neglecting cleanliness, efficiency, maintainability, and scalability can spell trouble in the long run. 

Here's the scoop on writing code that's not just a one-hit wonder:

Immediate Functionality: We get it, the pressure's on to make your code work pronto. Especially for junior developers, it's tempting to grab quick fixes from places like Stack Overflow. They can be lifesavers, no doubt.

But here's the thing: Will your code perform well with a massive dataset? Can it handle tons of users at once? Is it as sturdy as it looks? While achieving perfection might be challenging, considering these factors ensures your code is optimized for the long run, providing a foundation for future improvements.

Long-Term Implications: Code that only "works" without thinking about the road ahead can be a real headache. It's like buying a car without considering maintenance costs or whether it'll fit in your garage.

Here's what can happen: It can become a breeding ground for bugs, making troubleshooting difficult. Collaborating on such code can be a productivity drain during code reviews. Moreover, it can act as a bottleneck when scaling the application or introducing new features.

While functional code is essential, a more holistic approach to software development considers not just immediate functionality but also its performance, scalability, and long-term maintainability. By asking critical questions and optimizing for these aspects, you ensure that your code remains effective and efficient as your project evolves.

3. Not Writing Unit Tests

Let's talk about something crucial but often overlooked in the world of software development: unit tests. Think of them as your code's trusty sidekick, always there to make sure things run smoothly.

Context: Imagine building a sturdy house; you wouldn't skip the foundation, right? Unit tests are like that foundation, a fundamental part of crafting a reliable and high-quality application.

Why are unit tests so important? Let's break it down:

  1. Bug Busters: Unit tests are your secret weapon for hunting down bugs. They help you spot those sneaky errors and ensure your code does what it's supposed to do.
  2. Quality Control: Without unit tests, it's like sending a ship to sea without checking for leaks. You're shipping code that hasn't been thoroughly validated, which increases the risk of unexpected problems down the road.
  3. Bug Bodyguards: Unit tests act as bodyguards for your code. They stand guard, making sure that every change you make doesn't introduce new issues or break existing functionality. Without them, it's like performing acrobatics without a safety net.
  4. Confidence Boost:  When you have unit tests in place, you can make changes to your code with confidence. You know that if something goes wrong, your tests will catch it, saving you from costly fixes and ensuring your application's quality and reliability.

In simple terms, unit tests are not just a fancy best practice; they're the backbone of building software that you can trust. They help you catch bugs, maintain quality, and make changes with confidence. So, next time you're coding, don't forget to bring your trusty sidekick along – the unit tests!

4. No Code Documentation

You know that feeling when you're on a road trip and the GPS isn't working? That's a bit like what it's like in software development without proper code documentation.

Code documentation is a crucial element of software development, serving as a roadmap to understand and manage code effectively.

So, what's the deal with code documentation?

  1. Teamwork Snags: Imagine a project where nobody bothered to leave breadcrumbs. That's what it's like when there are no inline comments, READMEs, or API documentation. It's like trying to follow a recipe with missing ingredients – you end up with confusion and chaos, making teamwork a real headache.
  2. Slows Development Speed: Without clear documentation, it's as if you're decoding secret messages. Everyone's spending more time trying to understand the code rather than improving it. Slow progress, missed deadlines, and budget overruns become the norm. Not fun!
  3. Maintenance Nightmare: Think of code documentation as the user manual for your code. Without it, making updates or fixing issues feels like trying to repair a spaceship blindfolded. It's risky, and you're likely to introduce new problems instead of solving old ones.
  4. Inhibits Scalability:  Code lacking documentation is less adaptable to scale and accommodate growth. Now, picture your code as a plant. Without proper documentation, it won't grow well. It becomes less adaptable to change and can't handle growth. Expanding or enhancing the system becomes a risky endeavour, like trying to balance a tower of cards.

Code documentation is the key to understanding and maintaining your code. Neglecting it can lead to teamwork challenges, slow development, maintenance nightmares, and scaling struggles. So, the next time you write code, don't forget to leave some breadcrumbs for your team and yourself!


Ever met someone who thinks they knows it all? Maybe you've been there yourself. That's ego talking, and it can be a stumbling block in the world of software development.

Imagine you're in a team, and your ego is so big that you don't take feedback well. You might even brush off others' suggestions because, well, you think you're the smartest in the room. That's not a great place to be.

Here's the deal:

  1. Feedback Resistance: When you let your ego stop you from accepting feedback, you miss out on valuable learning opportunities. Growth happens when you're open to advice and willing to learn from your mistakes.
  2. Collaboration Hiccups: Ego can make teamwork a real challenge. If you're convinced you're the expert on everything, you might not play well with others. But collaboration is where the magic happens in software development.
  3. Stagnant Growth: Ever met someone who argues about stuff they don't really know? That's ego again. In this fast-moving field, stagnation isn't an option. Being receptive to others' ideas and constructive criticism is how you keep growing.
  4. Overconfidence Warning: Thinking you've outgrown everyone else's knowledge is a sign you need a reality check. Nobody knows everything, especially in a field that's always evolving.

Ego can hold you back in software development. It can make you resistant to feedback, hinder collaboration, stunt your growth, and lead to overconfidence. To thrive in this field, stay open, be willing to learn from others, and remember that even the experts have more to discover.


In the dynamic world of software development, continuous growth and improvement are paramount. Recognizing and addressing these signs of being a bad developer can be a crucial step towards becoming a more skilled and effective contributor to your team and projects.

Remember, being a great developer means:

  • Staying Informed: Always take the time to read and understand documentation, keeping your knowledge up-to-date.
  • Prioritizing Quality: Strive for code that not only works but is also maintainable, scalable, and robust.
  • Testing Thoroughly: Implement unit tests to ensure your code functions correctly and remains resilient to changes.
  • Documenting Code: Make your code accessible to others through meaningful comments and comprehensive documentation.
  • Humility: Keep your ego in check, embrace feedback, and foster a collaborative and growth-oriented mindset.

By being mindful of these principles, you'll not only become a better developer but also contribute positively to your team and the broader developer community.

Thank you for reading, and here's to your continuous growth and success in the world of software development!

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About the author

Wan Peninsula

Wan Peninsula

Full stack software engineer with 4+ years of experience developing scalable commercial applications and business solutions. Specialized in DevOps practices with expertise in AWS, CI/CD pipeline implementation, Kubernetes, and Terraform.


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