Paid vs. Unpaid

maddog's Doghouse

Article from Issue 200/2017

"maddog" takes a look at various factors that go into creating good code.

Recently, I was talking with a member of the Free Software community who made a statement that showed disdain for programmers that were paid versus those that volunteered their time. When I questioned this person more closely, he expressed the view that volunteer programmers take more time and are more careful in writing code than paid programmers. "You can see it in their code," he offered.

I have been in the computer industry since 1969. I have known good programmers, not-so-good programmers, and downright poor programmers, and I really have not seen any correlation between volunteering and doing a very good job in programming. There are more important factors that determine "good code" from "bad code."

One factor is the programmer's experience level. Are they just starting and, therefore, do not have all of the necessary skills for writing well-structured code? Perhaps they have not had a lot of practice making their code follow the coding style of the project they are working on – making it look like only one person has written the code, rather than many people.


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