What is the meaning of Technical Debt?

Every developer wants to write the code in the best way. Here I wrote some best practices for code and you can read them from here. But at what point does clean code become unclean? How does technical debt become in code? What does technical debt meaning? Let me explain to you a simple tech debt example

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Technical debt is like a shortcut that a developer takes when writing the code.

Imagine you are building a house and you are in a hurry. At this point in time, instead of using the best materials and construction methods, you use any cheaper material. I know you will finish the construction quickly, but it comes with a problem: the house isn’t as long-lasting as it could be.

Let’s understand the same scenario in coding and find out what is the meaning of Technical Debt.

Imagine you have a project, and you want to write code quickly to meet a deadline or add new features without doing everything perfectly. Instead of using the best strategy and testing, you skip the proper testing, and documentation, or use less efficient code. It will help in the short-term goal, but it can cause problems down the road.

When a developer tries to write code quickly, it creates technical debt. It gradually slows the daily progress when we add more functionalities to the project because dirty code accumulates over time. Fixing it later becomes more challenging and time-consuming.

Meaning of technical debt

Causes of technical debt

Business Pressure

Due to competitive markets and tight deadlines, companies force developers to release new features quickly. Then developers choose the easy way to complete the task. These quick fixes or shortcuts lead to technical debt because they don’t adhere to best practices.

Lack of Understanding

Sometimes, management may not fully grasp the concept of technical debt and doesn’t see the disadvantages of technical debt. They may not realize the technical debt becomes harder to manage. This lack of awareness can lead to technical debt proactively.

Overly Coherent Components

Suppose you are working in monolith rather than individual modules. It’s like a puzzle and all the pieces are glued together. When you change one of the pieces, it affects all the others. That project structure creates challenges for different team members to work independently.

Lack of Testing

Testing plays an important role in the quality control of software. When a developer implements changes without any prior testing. The untested code changes may introduce bugs or even critical failures when deployed.

Lack of Documentation

Documentation is a very important part of software development. Inappropriate documentation can lead to more bugs and it’s difficult for new team members to understand the codebase.

Limited Team Interaction

Distribution of knowledge is necessary for software development. If isn’t distributed, people will end up working with an outdated understanding of the project. Junior developers may struggle without proper mentorship and guidance.

Delayed Refactoring

As project requirements change, the codebase may become outdated. So refactoring should be done on time otherwise delaying refactoring can make it more difficult to adapt the code to new requirements and can lead to further technical debt.

Lack of Code Standards

Each developer writes code their way, and no one follows any coding standards or guidelines. It will not make the consistency in the codebase harder to understand

Incompetence

When a developer lacks the necessary skills and knowledge to write high-quality code. It can lead the technical debt and result in code that is prone to errors. It’s necessary to provide training if the team is lagging behind.

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