Are you a professional coder or a professional baby?

It's time developers grow up and stop making excuses -- and learn to code the right way

Today I’d like to talk about being a professional coder vs. being a professional baby. This is something I’ve seen since I started in IT many years ago. Here’s a scenario: A developer writes a piece of code to hit the database a certain way. When asked why, he answers, “To keep the DBAs off my back.”

Is that good enough? Why can’t he learn a lesson and apply it because it’s the right thing to do? Why does it have to be to keep the DBAs off his back?

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In fact, I’ve seen this from some of the highest devs in the business. I was at TechEd a few years ago and saw a .Net session given by a top C# guy. In this session, he gave some tips on how to effectively hit a database to pull back info. Unfortunately, he used the same language as the lower-level devs, advising the group to do things a certain way to make the DBAs happy and to keep them off their case. I don’t know if that's his professional viewpoint, but in my opinion, he should be leading the coders and not feeding that fire.

Even in a meeting last week, one of the devs built a solution following my recommendations. When reporting on that fact, he said, “This will make Sean happy.”

If you ask me, all of these people are being babies. But unlike your kids, who first follow your directions to make you happy (and get you off their backs), they never learn how to take responsibility and do the right thing. Devs will only do things because you told them to, not to get ahead.

I’ve known many DBAs who want to learn .Net coding or improve their SQL skills, but not once did I hear any of them say, "I’d better write my C# code this way or else the dev manager won’t get off my back."

No, as managers, our goal is efficiency. When we learn a better way to do something, we take the lesson and use it ourselves. We don’t insist that the only reason to do so is because someone else is keeping us in check. It’s an immature attitude, and it’s time to grow up and do the right thing -- because it’s the right thing.

Don’t use stored procedures in your code because you DBA tells you to. Don’t refrain from using query hints because the DBA will give you a call. Don’t move away from cursors because you’ll get a nasty e-mail. And don’t stop using table variables because you won’t pass the DBA code review. Do these things because they’re the proper ways to interact with a database.

Be responsible. Be an adult programmer. Stop making excuses. Just be good coders. And again, your DBAs aren’t there to be mean to you -- they want to help you interact with the database in a way that will be beneficial for all. The dev world needs more leaders and fewer whiners.

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