Found in 5 comments on Hacker News
Zyst · 2018-07-24 · Original thread
The Effective Engineer[0] has a chapter on technical debt, where he goes into how a lot of crappy code decisions are there for a reason, and how rewrites can be chaotic. If you have the time, I'd recommend giving it a read.

I frankly got a lot more pragmatic about asking for rewrites after reading it, and I feel it helped me to grow (mature?) as a developer.

Either way, I think there's a need to balance the need for employee self actualization needs which they often push as rewrite requests "Oh since we're rewriting this, we should (do it in)/use/etc X instead". I have often realized that a lot of requests to rewrite something are really tinkering desires camouflaged as a business related request, which is not to say that the code that does exist could have problems, it could, but having a period of debt repayment would improve it as well. So finding a way to allow your employees to tinker without letting their desires torpedo your products would be positive.

Either way, it's a complex subject, and I don't really think there's a single "right" response to it. Best of luck!


EDIT: I'm not a CTO, I'm a developer.

comvidyarthi · 2018-05-22 · Original thread
I really liked "The Effective Engineer" by Edmond Lau. Its not intended for starting your own company. But it has some good insight for doing good in your job and how to grow as a software engineer.
W0lf · 2017-06-05 · Original thread
I've gathered all the book titles in this thread and created Amazon affiliate links (if you don't mind. Otherwise you still have all the titles together :-) )

A Pattern Language, Alexander and Ishikawa and Silverstein

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment , Stevens

Algorithmics: the Spirit of Computing, Harel

Applied Crytography, Wiley

Clean Code, Martin

Clean Coder, Martin

Code Complete, McConnel

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, Petzold

Coders at Work, Seibel

Compilers: Principles, Techniques, & Tools, Aho

Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective, O'Hallaron and Bryant

Data Flow Analysis: Theory and Practice, Khedker

Dependency Injection in .NET, Seemann

Domain Driven Design, Evans

Fundamentals of Wireless Communication, Tse and Viswanath

Genetic Programming: An Intrduction, Banzhaf

Head First Design Patterns, O'Reilly

Implementing Domain-Driven Design, Vernon

Intrduction to Algorithms, CLRS

Introduction to General Systems Thinking, Weinberg

Joy of Clojure, Fogus and Houser

Let over Lambda, Hoyte

Operating Systems: Design and Implementation, Tanenbaum

Parsing Techniques, Grune and Jacobs

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, DeMarco and Lister

Programming Pearls, Bentley

Software Process Design: Out of the Tar Pit, McGraw-Hill

Software Runaways, Glass

Sorting and Searching, Knuth

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Abelson and Sussman

The Art of Unit Testing, Manning

The Art of Unix Programming, ESR

The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist, Brooks

The Effective Engineer, Lau

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White

The Healthy Programmer, Kutner

The Linux Programming Interface, Kerrisk

The Mythical Man-Month, Brooks

The Practice of Programming, Kernighan and Pike

The Pragmatic Programmer, Hunt and Thomas

The Psychology of Computer Programming, Weinberg

Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques, Gray and Reuter

Types and Programming Languages, Pierce

Understanding MySQL Internals, Pachev

Working Effectively with Legacy Code, Feathers

Zen of graphics programming, Abrash

henrik_w · 2017-02-08 · Original thread
A relatively new book that isn't mentioned (but that I really like) is "The Effective Engineer" by Edmond Lau.

Edit: Here's why I like it:

Your comment reminded me of Edmond Lau's book - The Effective Engineer [1] - where he talks about putting in a good amount of effort into the onboarding process for new engineers.

His premise - having a senior engineer spend an hour a day for the first month helping the new employee with explaining the existing abstractions being used, the underlying design of various systems, etc. - would still be only about 20 hours, which is still only 1% of the number of hours that employee will spend in their first year - about 2000 hours.

As a result, I believe that armed with that knowledge, the new employee is likely to be much more productive, failing which, at least cause less damage to the code base.

I would say that the first example you mention - leaky abstractions et. al. - are just as much (or maybe more) due to poor onboarding as they are due to the frustration of mediocre programmers. There is a lot to be said for good process, which software engineering as a discipline falls short of quite consistently.


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