Last Updated: February 25, 2016
· caffeinewriter

Why You Should Be A Hacker

I've worked with people on code before. It's usually fun and productive. However, you have no idea how many people I've worked with that can code like a beast, but not be able to tell what a function does from looking at the code, or starts every reply with "I think". That drives me nuts, which brings me to some points on why you should be a hacker.

You Can't Read Code

If you can write code, but can't read it, then that's as bad as being able to drive a car, but being blindfolded while you do. You can't understand what you're doing. You know what you're doing, you know what you need to do, but you don't know why it works. You can't understand what something does by taking a look at it. You need to be able to just look at code and be able to understand "Okay, so this will write to a file, then it will dump the logs into a temporary directory so it can parse it and then delete it." That's a horrible example, but it more or less works for this. Bottom line, if you can't understand code, you shouldn't be writing it.

You Don't Comment

You should document the hell out of your code in line. For example:

//This function joins two strings and returns them
function joinStrings(str,ing) {
    $string = $str . $ing;
    return $string;

I should be able to understand the basis of what the code is at a glance, and figure out how it works by looking at the code itself. Comments are your friend. You should always always use them.

You Can't Make Code Work For You

Let's say you're using someone else's code. It's documented, and it works well, but the problem is you're using workarounds to do repetitive functions, and the code doesn't allow any shortcuts for it. Or say the code has a bug. Either way, do you beg with the developer to implement your shortcut or push out a fix? Or do you figure out how to make it work for you, and submit a pull request? The answer should be you're working on it yourself. You should be able to make any code do what you want, no matter who wrote it.

Jonah Ellison said it best. "A hacker can make a computer do whatever the hell he wants it to." The title may be a little misleading, but the point is, you should work with your computer and code, not work on it.