Reading code is just as important as writing it

Recently, my friend said she quit a job leading development at a company after the CTO went on a 15 minute rant when she said reading code is just as important as writing it. I don’t blame her. I agree. I might even go as far as saying it’s more important.

Of course, there’s no code to read if no one writes code. I’m not saying that writing code is unimportant. But even for developers, reading is a critical skill. You’re not writing new code all of the time. So much development work is reading existing code to fix bugs, add new features, etc. Of course, developers spend a lot of time reading code people wrote on Stack Overflow, too.

Reading code is also critical for people who aren’t developers. I could probably code my way out of a proverbial paper sack, but just barely. But I’ve been able to point developers in the right direction by being able to dig into code. The ability to read code—even if you don’t fully comprehend it—is invaluable in troubleshooting technical issues.

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