What makes a great programmer? This is a fundamental question you need to ask yourself if you’re an aspiring one, but you can also use this as a standard question if you want to hire one. If you get or provide the answer: “a great programmer makes bug-free code,” then you need to re-evaluate your knowledge in the matter because no programmer can virtually make bug-free code.

The computer science industry is sorry to burst your bubble, but a bug-free code is logically and mathematically impossible to achieve. Here are the whys and hows:

Device Compatibility

When you think you’ve finally created the perfect software, you’ll surely test it over and over again. It may look perfect to you, but have you considered the execution environment (EE) and its device compatibility? Your target audience and end-users will still find bugs and other technical issues while using your software—and that’s for sure. There are different devices and mobile configurations out there, so it’s impossible for a programmer to control the execution environment.

Software-Testing Limitation

There is no perfect programmer as there is no bug-free code. Even the greatest programmers in the world have their limits. A team of programmers usually find hundreds to thousands of bugs during software testing. Sometimes, they stumble upon the same bug a hundred times over. They can only perform their jobs using the amount of time and equipment given to them by their bosses and seniors. So, understandably, none of them would find every bug there is in the final code. If a team of programmers can’t do it, what makes you think a lone wolf can?

Continuous Update

Apps are ever-evolving because it needs to keep up with the ever-evolving technology. If you want to stay in the game, you have the rewrite the game (and your code, if necessary). You need to stay relevant. Take the cases of Facebook
and Twitter, for example. These giant companies constantly improve their software to rival their competitors and meet users’ expectations. They’re always changing and updating their apps, opening more rooms for bugs, to solve current technical issues and improve user experience. Although new bugs are coming in, they focus on the pressing issues at hand.

User Experience

Launching your software to the public is where the real test enters the picture. Hundreds to thousands of users will download it and put it to test. Each person uses your app or software differently. They think differently, so they use apps differently. You can’t predict what they might do as there are endless possibilities. One may be satisfied with your app’s service, while another may bombard you with negative reviews. This is solid proof that no app, even your perfect app, has zero defects.

It may be impossible for programmers to write bug-free code, but they can surely create excellent software that can stand the test of time and change the way people live their lives. If you’re a programmer or an aspiring one, remember to strive for quality—not for perfection—since the bug-free code doesn’t exist. Despite this notion, you can still be an excellent programmer by coming up with software, apps, and products closer to bug-free. Make sure to always plan your approach, write concise code, communicate with your team, and use proper tooling.