How Do Bad Developers Hide, Thrive And Survive?

Software development wants cowboy developers

Ben "The Hosk" Hosking


Photo by Nik on Unsplash

There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult. C. A. R. Hoare

Software development is full of cowboy developers creating bad software every day.

The big question is how do bad developers keep getting work? If their work is bad, if their skills were terrible, then no one would hire them.

The software development world wants cowboy developers, who work fast and create low quality code. Most manager and projects want fast code, not quality code.

Gresham’s Law explains Why Bad Developers Push out Good Developer and Developers Create Low-Quality Code. Cheaper developers creating fast code/software is what managers want. Companies get paid for creating software, not creating quality software.

How do cowboy developers survive?

Cowboy developers are developers whose code, software are amateur level but with the appearance of a professional. They take shortcuts; the work looks ok from a distance but a closer inspection you will see it's low quality mess.

Cowboy developers are like cowboy builders the quality of their work is only visible after a period of time. At a glance, the work looks good, but time uncovers the truth about the quality of work and the quality of a craftsman.

Only a longer time span reveals which developers are good and which developers are cowboys.

The Cowboy Developer Gap Principle

The Development world wants cowboys

In most projects, speed is more important than quality

What looks good on sprint reports are developers who deliver story points and no one checks code quality.



Ben "The Hosk" Hosking

Technology philosopher | Software dev → Solution architect | Avid reader | Life long learner