0.1x engineer

Nov 10, 2022

Why I Strive to be a 0.1x Engineer, bit of a joke title but good ideas in here, especially this one:

Let’s not keep maintaining this feature.

I’ve gone so far as to slip some features into the red-lined diff during a refactor to see if anyone noticed [^1].

Some good quotes from the original Hacker News on this blog post, definitely a little more pointed after recent stories about a particular new social media owner hiring or firing engineers based on lines of code:

Jeff Atwood: “the best code is no code at all. Every new line of code you willingly bring into the world is code that has to be debugged, code that has to be read and understood, code that has to be supported. Every time you write new code, you should do so reluctantly, under duress, because you completely exhausted all your other options.”
Robert Galanakis: “The fastest code is the code which does not run. The code easiest to maintain is the code that was never written.”
Dijkstra: it is only a small step to measuring "programmer productivity" in terms of "number of lines of code produced per month". This is a very costly measuring unit because it encourages the writing of insipid code, but today I am less interested in how foolish a unit it is from even a pure business point of view. My point today is that, if we wish to count lines of code, we should not regard them as "lines produced" but as "lines spent": the current conventional wisdom is so foolish as to book that count on the wrong side of the ledger.
Bill Gates: "Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight."

[^1]: They did, they always do. They couldn’t explain why it was there but oh boy did they miss it!

Posted: November 2022