Adequacy is Inadequate

This post started as a comment on Reg Braitwaithe’s post Certification? Bring it on! and metastasized into a post of its own.

It sounds like you’ve given up on software development. You’re drawing a line in the sand at the outside edge of a program to say, “Here, this far and no further, here is where I can objectively judge software. This is my one firm place from which I’ll move the world.”

You’re not wrong, it’s a good place to make a stand for quality. But you’re not right when the nicest thing you can say about a program is, “Well... it works.”

I don’t want to be poisoned when I go to a restaurant, yes, that’s the minimum bar. But I want fine food, not just fast food. I want to be delighted by my meals, not merely satiated. The software market suffers from a staggering demand and the barely competent who have stumbled up to meet it. If the marketplace could decide quality, the Daily WTF would not exist, but it’s a market for lemons.

I code because I love writing good code. It keeps me up at night -- hell, it wakes me up at night. I don’t code so I can tell myself I’ve adequately performed my duties, I code because I love writing the best code I can and then pushing the definition of what my best is.

Maybe I’m ranting away at a false dichotomy. A certification based on testing is a great idea and I’d hit the books to earn it. I just don’t think it’s enough.