May 12, 2017

The benefits of not writing code

This is a follow-up to my previous post, “The problems with not writing code”.

As I mentioned in that post, when I’m not writing code at work, I’m working on other things, and that has a few interesting benefits.

I get to write a lot more. If I’m not writing code, I’m usually writing about code or systems in general. I think I have a bigger reach or impact by blogging and engaging with people. Jeff Atwood writes about this in “Does Writing Code Matter”. Writing is thought on paper (well, “paper”). Becoming a better writer means becoming a better thinker. And one of the best ways to become a better writer is to simply write more. Also, for some reason, I really like working with Markdown and Google Drive. I spend way too much time formatting text in my Drive documents…

I work on things more suited to me than others. For example, I’m practically the only person who can work on reviewing patents. This is not a direct “benefit,” but it’s nice to have total ownership over a task and not get blocked on things like code reviews. Note that things that are suited for me aren’t necessarily easy, or things that I expect.

I’m more likely to work on code outside of work. It’s really hard to write code for an entire work day, and then go home to code on things that are totally different. If I don’t think about code until I get home, I have the mental reserves to code for a few more hours.

I get to think about higher level problems. Often times anyone on my team can implement a feature or fix a bug. If it’s not me doing it, someone else will, and that frees me up to work on higher level things like implementing security policies or controls.

There are probably other things, but these are the first things that I thought of.

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