Programmer Rigidity

I went to Dev Bootcamp in the Fall of 2012 and paired with several junior programmers that did not know basic text editor shortcuts, like autocompletion of variable names and hitting tab after keywords like def and if. Some newbies were easily able to adapt and learn the shortcuts (often in the same programming session) while others seemed to appreciate the value of the shortcuts, but stuck with their old habits.

Effectively leveraging a text editor limits typing and lets developers focus on the code without wasting time typing something like method_name.each { |x| … } a million times. After programming with some senior developers, I was surprised to find that some do not even use basic shortcuts (shortcut to enter a line above the cursor, automatically add end after do, etc.), even though they are very good programmers. Shortcuts are unambiguously efficient and it is perplexing to see a talented developer painstakingly fumble with dos and ends while coding.

Some developers are easily able to adapt to new techniques and this seems like a desirable personality trait in a rapidly changing industry like technology. I encourage programmers to reflect on their rigidity, assess the pros and cons, and determine if a flexible approach is more efficient in the long run, even if it is uncomfortable in the short run.


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