Looks like Senior StackOverflow Developer is not a joke after all. As StackOverflow themselves confirms, one of every four visitors copies a piece of code off the website, within 5 minutes of their visit. During mere two weeks between March and April this year, there were over 40 million CTRL+C keystrokes recorded on StackOverflow.
We all see this happening all the time. But the scale of this phenomenon is, quite frankly, shocking. Availability of this vast trove of free code snippets is too often seen as an excuse to no longer learn things for yourself.
While copying a code snippet off StackOverflow isn’t bad in itself, it’s rarely followed by genuine effort to actually understand, how the snippet works. Whether it’s a good way to go. Whether there are better alternatives. Whether the code is safe and secure. And the ultimate question: what is lacking in my knowledge, that I again found myself recycling someone else’s code?
Well why? If it works, it must be all fine! Next ticket please, team metrics up, big success!
Two concerns come to mind here:
- QA teams: brace for impact, this is getting worse by each year!
- Senior StackOverflow Developers: beware. It is precisely this kind of “work” that’s easiest to automate by machine learning. I can see drastic career changes coming for many ;-)
Author Tomasz Waraksa