Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
About 250 thousand websites are launched every day. That is, web development is a very popular sphere and, moreover, one of the most in-demand. Every company has an IT department, and many students tend to become developers.
However, only web developers really understand all the nuances of their work. The first thing that they tell us is that coding is not about writing code only. You have to analyze a lot of data, conduct research and have good analytical skills.
And, you might be surprised, but one of the most important skills for web developers is the ability to read code rather than to write it. Firstly, it is very costly to write new code every time. Secondly, you have to understand the architecture and approaches used to create a certain software or web application. Thirdly, reading code is very important to find new solutions and to improve an existing system.
Still, there are a lot more reasons to read code. That is why we want to tell you why code reading might be even more important than writing.
Prevent the Repetitions
If you have opened a codebase (or at least page source) once, you might understand that the code is a very big amount of information with certain functions and parameters. Each code line represents a way of things working on a website. However, if some codelines repeat, the website may work wrong. For example, some of the buttons might not work, or some visuals won’t appear on a screen.
There is one more scenario. Mostly, repetition doesn’t cause a lot of problems with code, and you can easily fix them. However, repetitions might be about using the same techniques to create a website. Such a scenario is very bad for a code writer.
Firstly, his portfolio will be outdated since the code isn’t developing. Secondly, they won’t analyze new approaches to create something. Thus, if they face a new code, they won’t have an opportunity to understand it and find some solutions.
The main point that every code writer translates is that all of them are individuals. They think differently, so they use unique approaches. Reading code means having an opportunity to understand more people.
Write a Clean Code
Imagine that you have bought a new gadget and want to start using it as quickly as possible. Smartphones and laptops are very intuitive, so in the modern world, you don’t need a guide to use them. Yet if you buy a drone, you might not understand some of its possibilities. So, to use it correctly, you need instruction. Obviously, you want it to be short and understandable.
The same thing is about code. Whenever you face a new website or web application, you don’t want to spend a lot of time reading the code. You want to find the necessary code line as fast as possible and start working on new solutions. One of the goals of every code writer is to create a clean code.
How to do it? Read codes as much as possible. In this way, you will understand the most effective approaches and the most trending solutions for different cases. Clean code is a way to develop a certain project faster.
Develop Analytical Skills
All of us have to analyze something every day. However, programmers, as usual, are better analysts. The reason is that they read a lot of code. In other words, they push their mind to think mathematically. Why?
Code is not a simple sentence. It is a set of functions, figures, and configurations. It is a math exercise. You have to analyze several variables to find a correct answer or a bug.
Those who have advanced analytical skills have more opportunities to understand something. At the same time, they are not afraid to ask questions even about socially accepted data. Thus, they can better understand the truth and find out that it usually depends on the source of information.
Is code important to find healthy solutions? The answer is yes as well. Since you analyze a lot of data spending time code reading, you understand the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. Thus, you can use the most effective approach for your task or even create a new one.
Moreover, this will help you to find better solutions for a living. Analytical skills are used for everything that happens in everyday life.
Solve Mysteries and Find Answers
Living in a world means facing a lot of riddles. When you enter a university, apply for a job or simply meet a new person, you might face some puzzling questions. Such questions don’t have a common answer, but you should analyze all the data to represent your own way of solving such a puzzle.
You might wonder, how can you solve puzzles when you read source code? The answer is that you become more attentive to details. Thus, listening to a hard question, you will be very attentive as well, so you can find the answer faster.
At the same time, such puzzles may affect your life. For example, you might win a prize or get an important clue. In general, reading code improves your mind and thinking.
Allows You to Debug
Speaking in the language of programmers, you will face a lot of bugs. The reason is that every code is very big, and it is impossible to make it mistake-free immediately. Moreover, some of these codes are dynamic since they change as per users’ activity. Code readers always devote several hours a day to debugging.
The more you read the code, the more patterns you understand. Thus, when you find something that is not similar to a certain pattern, and it affects the functionality, you will understand that it is a bug.
In other words, code reading allows you to find the reasons why something works (or doesn’t work).
Read Codes Faster
Is reading a skill? Of course. The more books you read, the more data you can remember and process. Moreover, you develop the reading speed from book to book.
Code reading is the same skill. Since you read a lot of codes, you find similar patterns and understand them faster. You will have an opportunity to read 20 lines of code (or more) in several seconds.
Why is it important? For all of the things that were mentioned above:
- find bugs;
- find new solutions;
- fix bugs;
- understand the patterns.
If you can read code very fast, you can cope with any task fast as well. Thus, you will have more time for self-development or relaxation.
When Web-developers Have to Read a Code
As it was mentioned, code reading is an integral part of web development. Yet, you might have a question, when web developers have to read a code? We should say that the list of situations may be non-exhaustive. Here are some of them:
- Code reviews. It is very important to understand that everything on a website works properly. In small teams, programmers have to read code more often;
- For research and study. As it was mentioned, code reading helps to find new patterns and solutions. At the same time, it helps to check some common approaches and understand them;
- For copy-pasting. Very often, coders just copy a part of a code and paste it to their own repository. Yet, it is vital to understand what can you copy and whether you have to change something in such a part of a code;
- To understand how the web application works. Sometimes, the documentation of a certain program or plugin is not detailed enough. In this case, it is necessary to check a source code;
- To fix bugs;
- During meetings, conferences, hackathons, seminars, and so on.
As you can see, code reading is something that will be a big part of your life if you decide to become a web developer.
Every programmer is obliged to read code every day. And this obligation comes not from a team leader, CTO, CEO, or anybody else. It comes from the nature of web development. And the most interesting thing is that there are no courses on code reading. You just have to understand that the level of this skill depends on your own.
So, ask yourself, what is a codebase, and how fast can you read it? Do you remember the day when you devoted some time to improving this skill (e.g., find new patterns, analyze the code source of a new web page)? Many coders answer that they do such a thing rarely. And the reason is that they think that they can read code.
The truth is the opposite. You can read only the code that you have ever faced. Yet you have to bear in mind that technologies develop rapidly, and new ways to write code appear every day. That is why code reading is very important for web developers.
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