DEV Community

loading...

What harmful habits do developers pick up over time?

Ben Halpern
A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.
・1 min read

Discussion (69)

Collapse
thetinygoat profile image
Sachin Saini πŸ¦„

I think overworking is a major one, and it has caused me to burnout countless times.

Collapse
mithil467 profile image
Mithil Poojary

Yeah staying awake for a long time at night is a major one!

Collapse
danielkun profile image
Daniel Albuschat

I got rid of that one after I had many minor health issues last year. Now I value my sleep more than programming or learning

Collapse
ben profile image
Collapse
jacobmgevans profile image
Jacob Evans

I'll second this

Collapse
waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

It's impossible to learn everything. There is way too much. Learn about things you need. Maybe a surface level of adjacent things. Build a deep expertise in your core skills.

Collapse
ayedaemon profile image
AyeDaemon

I sometimes agree to the point you are making here but seeing this person (linkedin.com/in/vimaldaga/ ) always change my mind that you can be expert in anything you want and It is not a waste of time.

What are your views on this?

Collapse
waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

I dont think that you can be an expert in anything. Anything is a bit broad. There are always going to be topics that take a lifetime, the right person, a bit of luck, and the right developments in the surrounding industry. These things produce historical figures like "Einstein". There are also going to be things that require teams of people, the chrome "V8 Engine" for instance.

Now can you achieve working expertise at, Software Engineering, Data Science, Business, Entrepreneurship, JavaScript, Python, Blogging, ... Things that are achievable by a broad audience ( requiring a bit less luck and raw talent ).

Can you be an expert at anything Heck yes

Can you be an expert at everything Definitely Not

Thread Thread
leob profile image
leob • Edited

So true, even Einstein couldn't be an expert at "anything", and he would have been the first to admit it. I guess true mastery lies in knowing your limits!

Collapse
leob profile image
leob • Edited

I checked out his profile, and I see he's an expert (or at least knowledgeable) in cloud/devops and in big data, those 2 fields - not in "everything" (for example, web dev or mobile dev aren't mentioned).

Thread Thread
waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

πŸ’― Big difference between Anything and Everything.

Your own personal talents, skills, and experience limit what is reasonable to go for.

Collapse
juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez • Edited

A few that come to mind (and had happened to me before).

  • Spending way too much time sitting either working or just browsing around
  • Having disparate eating times and not eating real food much
  • Not having work boundaries and letting the work spills out to other activities (now is even more prevalent since all of us are working from home)
  • Not having times to stretch, move or even break a sweat

I probably could go on and on but those are just a few πŸ˜…

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I read that if you take a break, but the break involves another screen, your brain really doesn't actually reap the benefits of the break.

So moving from your computer, plopping on the couch and scrolling Reddit etc. is really not what you want to be doing if you can help it.

Collapse
juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

Exactly! That's what I tell some students on calls. Having a structure of work & break times (like the Pomodoro technique)
And the important thing is that when people are working, they try to focus and get stuff done. And when they are taking the break, they fully disengage from pc or phone and just go for a walk, go to the bathroom, make a drink, talk with someone or whatever to make it an actual break.

Collapse
chakrihacker profile image
Subramanya Chakravarthy

Please go on and write a post πŸ“

Collapse
juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

Hahaha if it will help you then I'm surely going to schedule that post. 😁

Collapse
sookah profile image
Collapse
recss profile image
Kevin K. Johnson

Whosever is reading this: your posture is probably terrible right now, haha.

Collapse
jsn1nj4 profile image
JSn1nj4β€β€πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

It was! Thank you for the correction. Lol

Collapse
lyatziv profile image
Lavi Yatziv

Thanks for the reminder!

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Here's one I suspect to be prevalent, or at least it's a bad one of mine:

Never not working on a problem in the back of your mind... Sometimes I keep an issue spinning around in my head all weekend when I'd be better off forgetting about it and coming back on Monday. This probably afflicts me particularly badly as an entrepreneur with a bit more at stake, but I've had this problem in most of my work forever.

Collapse
mungojam profile image
Mark Adamson

That's very true, and it's worse with working from home at the moment. It can mean that I'm not all there for family even if I'm not at my computer. Maybe the key is to take more time out to ponder things during the working day.

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

In the last couple weeks I've been doing a mid-day workout... Which for me is a weighted-vest walk/light jog with an audiobook. Basically taking my audiobook/podcast habit and making it more of a workout.

The break is nice, and the exercise definitely helps my brain health and gives clarity.

Thread Thread
mungojam profile image
Mark Adamson

Googling weighted vest now πŸ™‚

Thread Thread
ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Yay!

Habits are hard to form, even when I had the idea to take on this routine, the vest sat around unused for several weeks before I truly kicked it in, but now I feel like I'm over the hump and really enjoying making time for it.

No approach/routine works for everyone, but I do think exercise really is about the best thing one can do with any number of feelings of stress, anxiety, etc.

Thread Thread
mungojam profile image
Mark Adamson

I agree, I need to build a replacement for the weekly parkrun as that made such a difference the last year but it won't start again any time soon I expect

Collapse
arindamdawn profile image
Arindam Dawn

Saying YES to everything! Sometimes saying NO is a life-saver

Collapse
danielkun profile image
Daniel Albuschat

Agreed! Also, underestimating is very popular among devs

Collapse
oloryn profile image
Ben Coleman • Edited

Which may be not only a dev problem, but also a management problem. Tom DeMarco points out that we don't estimate well because we get so little practice at it. What we call 'estimation' is often actually haggling over what the schedule will be, at times going up against an attitude of "What's the earliest you can't prove you won't be done?" Between that and a potential ego motivation to make shorter estimates, it's not surprising that underestimating is common.

Collapse
ben profile image
Collapse
sanchitrk profile image
Sanchit Rk

Developer ego, not having open mind

Collapse
miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot • Edited

Becoming passive-aggressive on pull request reviews because it makes them feel superior and demonstrate their experience. Like a virus that, if someone does it to you as a junior, you'll do it right back as a senior. Kills productivity and becomes totally self-defeating.

Collapse
akshaykhale1992 profile image
Akshay Khale

I always thought that Programmers and Mathematicians are alike Analytical, Smart, Thinkers, and Introverts. The problems are also the same that includes Overthinking, Unable to fit in with regular people, unable to maintain emotional health, and inability to turn off the mind, just a few thing on the top of my mind.

Collapse
sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Considering themselves senior enough to ignore practicing.

Collapse
allain profile image
Allain Lalonde

Over working and multi-tasking with watching videos or listening to podcasts while coding.

Collapse
thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt

Getting used to no more being seated properly in front of your desk.

Collapse
johnadan profile image
John McLem Adan • Edited
  • Overworking
  • Less sleep
  • Unhealthy eating
  • No boundary between work and rest
  • Unhealty posture
  • Less to no time for exercise or stretching
Collapse
mungojam profile image
Mark Adamson • Edited

Being impatient with more junior devs as it feels like repeating things you've covered before and that isn't DRY!

Collapse
waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Spending too much time working on a feature that was not needed.

i.e. lack of understanding the business.

Collapse
twigman08 profile image
Chad Smith

In my opinion a very harmful one that developers deal with is not separating out home and work. Don't take your work home, and in my opinion that even includes researching and learning for your job.

It's one thing to learn/do more research because you're interested in it and you enjoy it. It's another thing to constantly do work/research for your job outside of work at home. I really believe jobs need to pay and budget that time into your everyday job function. I see this especially with new developers. They feel so much pressure to learn and make their employers happy that they end up burning themselves out by doing all kinds of things outside of normal work hours. That's a big thing I stress when mentoring new developers. Separate out the work and home. Don't feel pressure to catch-up on the weekends.

Collapse
anshulnegitc profile image
Anshul Negi
  1. Working anytime, no proper schedule and improper sleep time.
  2. Sitting posture
  3. Going through the tech stuff that's not really important for the current project.
  4. Believing your client to whatever they say, just implement it.

PS: This is what I am going through

Collapse
msfjarvis profile image
Harsh Shandilya

Probably controversial, but as an OSS maintainer, I feel wanting to be very likable can take a negative toll on one's mind. When your motivational model starts revolving around all users absolutely adoring you, the occasional crass comment can cause you to spiral. I've done this to myself quite a few times and only recently started putting my foot down about things, within reason of course. Striking the balance between being an opinionated maintainer and an oblivious one just gets hard sometimes.

Collapse
kosich profile image
Kostia Palchyk • Edited

Scrolling through articles text, looking for kittens and code snippets.

Collapse
mattwaler profile image
Matt Waler

I'm noticing lots of senior devs in my life have adopted the "always add, never refactor" methodology after accidents on past projects. Unfortunately, being afraid to refactor means projects grow forever.

Collapse
moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Thinking you're an expert in other fields (like UX or QA or design) because you've been around people who are and you have "real world" experience. I mean, it counts, but unless you've spent a decent amount of time training, it's easy to Dunning-Kruger your way through meetings.

Collapse
matt profile image
Matt Seymour • Edited

For some devs it's toxicity. It starts off as a comment here or there and can quickly inflate into a nasty habit. I have worked with some people who are technically brilliant, but they were so toxic (code reviews, one on one (bitching), emails and meetings) . Without realising there actions were deeply impacting the team, junior devs wouldn't ask question, managers would just leave them be. They would start to feel isolated and more toxic.

One lunch a met up with... Dave (I will call them Dave) as part of our company team lunches. He mentioned he is "feeling more and more isolated and he thinks management want to fire" him. After a long chat I felt he was in the right place to be told. I simply said "Dave, management want you here and so do the other devs, I think I know what the problem might be, people feel they cannot approach you to have a positive conversation".
I specifically did not say toxic, and kept it as light as possible.
The real telling moment was when he looked up in realisation and just smiled.
Following that conversation he arranged a lunch date with each person in the team, his whole attitude changed (apart from a few wobbles) he was a completely different guy. It was amazing to see. He went from toxic to positive in weeks. He was one of the few people I knew who could take on criticism and figure it out.

Collapse
danielkun profile image
Daniel Albuschat

Speaking for myself: starting per projects and quickly get distracted and let them rot

Collapse
satyamroy15 profile image
Satyam Roy

Improper distribution of time and thereby not able to focus on other important aspects of life such as Exercise, Health and Family.

Collapse
karthick3018 profile image
KaRthick

Doing office work even in weekend ! this increases the stress level and not even chilling in weekend !

Collapse
tilakmaddy_68 profile image
Tilak Madichetti • Edited

Trying XSS attacks on random sites , involuntarily as though that's how internet is meant to be surfed

Collapse
itsjzt profile image
Saurabh Sharma

strong opinions

Collapse
scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

"We've always done it this way"

Collapse
frankfont profile image
Frank Font

Success is the silent crippler. When people are successful time after time doing something, why would they consider a different way? (Answer of course is because many times there is a BETTER way that also works. And not improving leaves us behind those that do.)

Collapse
mdor profile image
Marco Antonio Dominguez

My 2 cents to the list:

  • Say YES to everything, sometimes that can lead to work crazy amount of hours.
  • Work on weekends or after hours, this habit causes a false perception about the productivity of you and your team. So people gradually will keep asking to work like that, specifically, that will end up causing you (and some people too) burnout, frustration and some health issues (the last one happen to some friend already)
    • Do not refactor on time, sometimes it's better to spend 1 week in something, instead of explaining to your boss something do not have solution anymore and needs to be rewritten
  • Invest time only in the product, and do not invest time in engineering. People who are not technical will end up saying do A or B is a waste of time, but sometimes, take the time to refactor, simplify, and research how to speed up something will make a huge difference for your team, and the product.
  • Do no test before push changes
  • Dismiss other people ideas
  • Being reactive instead of analytic
  • Do not communicate things on time
  • Force people to use your toolset instead of the things they feel comfortable with
  • Being in a company with no opportunities, this is just a waste of time
  • Dismiss recommendations without even hear
  • Force personal opinions instead of facts when making decisions
Collapse
hyliancoder profile image
Ξ”NDRΞW

Lack of self care. Obsession. Over working. Eating out more.

My worst one was biting my nails. Used to do it kind of as a teen but ever since getting into coding I bite them a LOT and I've been trying to break it for years.

Collapse
brandelune profile image
Jean-Christophe Helary

Bring their laptop home.

Collapse
uyadavdev profile image
Utkarsh Yadav • Edited

Overthinking on a piece of work and make it harder, while a simple and sweet solution is available..

Collapse
johnkazer profile image
John Kazer

Wasting time arguing over which os or ide or whatever is terrible/perfect but failing to pause and wonder why someone has a different opinion to you in the first place.

Collapse
thejoezack profile image
Joe Zack

Starting with a "getting started " guide that skips on best practices, security, and testing, and the stackoverflowing through pro lens without ever really learning how the techs work

Collapse
bernardbaker profile image
Bernard Baker

Complacency. Poor commit messages. Lazy refactoring. I've fallen prey to these on both fronts.

Collapse
soniarpit profile image
CodeSnail 🐌
  1. Not interact with programming community.
  2. Blame others
  3. Not accept new tech.
Collapse
felipperegazio profile image
Felippe Regazio

A lot of coffee :S

Collapse
mendoza profile image
David Mendoza (He/Him)

In my country some of the major habits developers get are

  • drugs
  • smocking tobacco
Collapse
nickyoung profile image
Nick Young

Not actually knowing how to use technology since we spend so much time developing it and using it from a different perspective.

Collapse
oloryn profile image
Ben Coleman

I've seen this a fair bit with some customers. I've had a few times where I've had to ask the user how they're going about a particular process, only to find out they're doing it in a quite different way than I expected. And what they're doing isn't necessarily wrong - they sometimes know the app I've developed better than I do, because they deal with it every day, while I only deal with it when I'm having to add new features or troubleshoot a bug.

Collapse
rahmanxyz profile image
Rahman

When I started I face lack of water and sleep

Collapse
lennythedev profile image
Lenmor Ld • Edited

Eating at your work desk.
You don't taste the food and you tend to eat more.
And don't forget the mess lol

Collapse
aniadomachowska profile image
AniaDomachowska

Rat race about who is smarter (ends up as burndown)

Forem Open with the Forem app