Cargo cult programming and productivity – Are they related?

Cargo Cult Programming is a popular term in the novice arena or inexperienced programmers with productivity or urgency to complete the task at hand. They plague the lands of the startups more often than any other place, eventually they can be found everywhere from homes, to offices to research institutes.

What is Cargo Cult Programming?

Cargo Cult programming is defined as the process of using codes and incorporating them in applications without real understanding of what and how they are going to affect the original application. More or less the programmer has no real understanding on what’s going to happen if they change one variable or line of code or even a function while copy-pasting the code. On the other hand, productivity is the amount of output divided by the hours of input given at particular task. So, how they relate? or do they relate at all?

They relate much in current industry standards. Programmers are happy to copy and paste the code and eventually done with the project so they can get applauds from the management on how well they are performing. But wait? does it really do any good to programmers and their thinking capabilities as a whole? I guess no! They just have one more project to show on CV with no real skills at hands. The cult programming wins this time. But in the longer run, I am afraid when new technologies emerge the cult programmers will find it hard to survive the field of Information Technology. As new technologies must be understood from the ground up and no valuable resource are available online. It slowly becomes more user-friendly as the user base and discussions forums grows around the internet.

How CCP relates with Productivity?

Productivity in programming is a different thing altogether, it’s a thinking job. With time, the productivity increases with experience. Like any other art, programming needs 10 years/ 10,000 hours of mindful practice to succeed in(as shown by research).

So what’s the point of blabbering all these? Most of the programmers don’t realize that they are cult programmers and they have fun discussing their success with no skill increase and eventually no self-assessment or realization of improvement.

Rest the thinkers know what they are doing and their limits. Very few eventually have the courage to go in-depth of everything, others like to flow by the wind and never feel the true experience.

So, what do you think about Cargo Cult Programming? How often do you see it surrounding you in the workplace? Comment below and share your experience.

Adapted from my personal blog : RagingSin

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