The problems with not writing code

Published May 12, 2017

I took on a quick bug fix issue today at work as a result of a customer ticket. I checked out the Go code, opened up Atom, and started editing the code. Then I noticed that my entire Atom + Go environment was a mess. There were all kinds of Go analysis tools running and filling up my screen. It was really annoying because when I use Go and Atom on my personal laptop for all of my projects, I like to keep things minimal. But I don’t remember why my work laptop got into such a weird condition.

I wondered when the last time I actually seriously wrote some Go code on my work laptop was. I started looking through my previous sprint assignments. The last time I had a significant programming task as part of my sprint was… back in late November.

So yeah, I don’t really code that much at work anymore. And that has some side effects I didn’t really expect.

What have I actually been doing? Recently…

  1. Security and compliance documentation
  2. Interviews
  3. Sales calls
  4. Legal stuff (patents)
  5. Conference stuff
  6. Ops and infra
  7. Code reviews

A few weird and unexpected things happen when I don’t write code at work.

It gets weird to talk about what I do. I had a hard time telling people at Percona Live what I do at work. It’s hard to give a good answer since it changes all the time.

The way I review code changes. I’m less strict during code reviews now. No need to annoy the people who actually work on the code day-to-day.

I start forgetting how stuff works. It’s hard to keep up with the code when there’s lots of other stuff going on.

I start getting insecure during interviews. When we interview people for our team, we’re looking for people with strong programming skills. I like to talk about their recent experience and what they’ve been working on. I get insecure because if I were in their place, I’d say that I don’t code much anymore which… um… may not be a great sign. I’d wonder, “hm… maybe this person isn’t a great programmer?”

Outside of work, on the other hand, I still write a lot of code. So when I do think about code or implementing something new, I think about my own projects. Sometimes I confuse myself because I think about how something works at work, but then I realize that it’s how my personal projects do things and what we have at work is totally different.

I don’t have an official job title but my business card (which is like 3 years old at this point) says “Software Engineer” but that doesn’t really seem accurate based on what I do day-to-day, which changes practically every week. My job title should just be “Preetam” 😜 .