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What Software Engineers Don't Get About Clean Code

12/05/2022

Back at Instagram, Alex was able to grow very quickly. This was largely due to his coding ability. In his 1st half at Instagram, he pushed ~125 commits to production. In his 2nd half, he pushed ~185 commits to production. In his 3rd half, he pushed ~275 commits to production, making him a Top 5 code committer within his org of 50+ software engineers.

Here are the core points from the video:

  • You don't need to sacrifice quality for velocity - This is one of the biggest misconceptions about code. You can both write a lot of code while keeping the polish high. In fact, high code quality and velocity naturally go hand-in-hand.
  • Messy code is a defining trait of a weak SWE - 99% of bad software engineers have poor code quality, and conversely, you will rarely meet a high-performing software engineer that puts out messy code. Optimizing your code quality is one of the most powerful ways to avoid being a low performer, especially if you work at FAANG or Big Tech in general where the scale and stakes are much higher for code.
  • 80/20 rule applies to code quality - It usually doesn't make sense to cover 100% of edge cases, but you can generally cover ~80% of them with ~20% of the maximum effort, even if you're a tiny startup. Don't make excuses for broken, unreadable code by saying "We have to move fast"; strive to find that 80/20 path.

This highlight is from our masterclass on "How To Write Better Code Faster As A Software Engineer". Click here to watch it.

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