38 Things Real Programmers Do, and you probably aren’t one if you don’t do them all

woman sitting in front laptop

Aight, buckle up y’all, a lot of you are gonna get real mad, cause you’re about to find out YOU AIN’T A REAL PROGRAMMER!

0. All Lists and indexes start at zero!

The rule number 0 of practically all coding guidlines is that indexing always starts at zero. Unlike those FREAK languages like MatLab, Julia, or 🤮🤮🤮 FORTRAN 🤮🤮🤮 , Real coders only start their indexes at zero!!

1. Use tabs not Spaces for indenting!

Let’s get this straight, no REAL CODER indents with spaces, it wastes time and it looks ugly. It’s probably the source of most coding errors in python and you should probably just GIVE UP already! Sorry, not sorry…

2. Write everything in VIM!

If you aren’t already writing literally all of your code in VIM and using some IDE or God Forbid vscode, I have some BAD 📰 NEWS 📰 for you, you’re probably not a real programmer

3. everythingIsWrittenInCamelCase!

There’s NOTHING more syntactically easy to read than 🐫 camelCase 🐫, It’s the fastest to write, easy to read, if all your variables aren’t in 🐫 camelCase 🐫, well, that’s probably why it’s not working right now.

4. All coders have Imposter syndrome

One TRUE mark of a TRUE coder is that they 100% would never call themselves a coder. This disbelief in their own abilities is the only type of 🔐 insecurity 🔐 that will propel the late nights into working code and not to some NETFLIX SHOW cause they’ll fix it tomorrow cause they think they’re GOOD ENOUGH!

5. All databases are in SQL!

If you’re not using SQL for your database management, I think you’re gonna need to take a good long look in the mirror and take off that 🤡 🤡 CLOWN makeup! 🤡 🤡 Because you’re a clown! There’s nothing BETTER and MORE ACCEPTED by industry!

6. They only code in Linux!

“Hold on let me log on as administrator” SAID NO PROGRAMMER EVER, if you’re working on a mac, or God forbid, a PC, like at least grab a pi to code in! SUDO it up BABY 👶! You’re gonna get nowhere if you’re limited by that clunky OS!

7. Use as many one line if statements/loops! Save that time guys!

Compact code is 🤴 king 🤴 . Unless you’re getting paid by the line, I kinda 👩‍⚖️ judge people who don’t fit all their if statements and for loops into a single line of code. LIKE the 21st century called, they’re wondering where all your ternary operators are!

8. They only code on mechanical rainbow Keyboards!

I don’t think I have to elaborate on this one

9. Always limit your lines of code to 80 characters!

If you’re a real PROFESSIONAL coder, you know that lines of code HAVE to be limited to 80 characters so that they can be 🖨 print/pdf friendly. If you’re not doing that, you’re probably not a professional and some kid coder trying to self-market yourself as a Datascientist on LinkdIn

10. Only use Dark Mode!

If you’re not already doing this, why don’t you just say Bye-Bye 👀eyeballs👀 and start saving up for all the glasses you’ll have to buy in your old age!

11. They do everything possible in command line!

I knew someone I used to work with who used to open and manage files and 📂folders📂 in some sort of file explorer. His name was 👴 Steve 👴 and he was a manager and spent most of his workday playing around with excel tables. If you’re not doing every possible thing in a terminal, you’re not a programmer…

12. Make fun of JavaScript not being a real programming language!

It’s not a REAL programming language. It’s a scripting language, maybe if you’re a scriptor you’d use it, but not if you’re a programmer! If you’re not reminding JavaScript developers constantly how inferior they are, you just don’t have that egotistical 🧠mind🧠 it takes to be a programmer.

13. Never code anything that isn’t an object!

I guess this is just a rant about scriptors now. In my opinion, if you have a function that’s not main() or not attached to some object, you’re definitely NOT a programmer. I don’t even know what you would be…probably unemployed

14. EverythingIsWrittenInPascalCase

I mean 🐫 camelCase 🐫 is great for some amateurs, yeah, but if you’re gonna stay really consistent, PascalCase is way better. Those 🏛capital🏛 first letters are just way easy to spot and read when you’re looking for that missing variable.

15. Code everything in Python!

Python is the easiest language to write in, it’s got one of the BIGGEST developer communities and there’s NO WAY you could do any machine learning without it! If you want to be a programmer that’s relevant, you better just start writing all your stuff in Python!

16. Debug with break points!

No one’s got time for 🖨print🖨 statements…there was an engineer I worked with that tried to develop some code in my branch, they forgot to remove a 🖨print🖨 statement they were debugging with. We teased him so bad, they had to “Suddenly” start WFH🏠! Like no one will take you seriously if you’re not using breakpoints!

17. They only code on macs!

apple logo

🍎Macs🍎 just have the best of both worlds. You can actually use their terminal, easy to download libraries, and it’s an ACTUAL OS! Not like a LINUX🤮🤮! I guess if you have to WORK with HARDWARE Linux could be nice, but then I think that makes you more of a Computer Engineer than a Coder…

18. Programmers use Pandas!

Nobody’s got time to figure out how to use SQL, like what is it even offering that you can’t already do in 🐼Pandas🐼 already? Any REAL programmer just uses 🐼pandas🐼! If it’s not working for you, you’re probably not using it correctly…just sayin 💁‍♂️

19. Everything_Is_Written_In_Snake_Case!

I just don’t understand how anyone could work in 🐫camel🐫 or Pascal, 🐍Snake_Case🐍 is basically 1-billion-times-💯-percent easier to 📕read with all those underscore spaces🪐! It’s kinda a no-brainer🧠 that anyone who’s a REAL programmer’s putting everything in Snake_Case

20. Use Spaces not tabs for indenting!

Yeah, tabs might be good enough for a novice or a weekend project, but if you’re a professional and want your beautiful🌈 code to be seen as the 🎨artist👩‍🎨 (**YOU A REAL CODER**) intended, you’ll use spaces🪐 so it looks the same across every single editor!

21. Code everything in C++!

SPEED IS 🤴 🤴KING 🤴 🤴! Maybe if you’re just working in analysis or prototyping something, maybe you can use another language, but C and C++ will be impossible to 🥇beat🥇 and therefore any respectable coder who wants to their code to be used outside of the 🎓CLASSROOM👩‍🏫 will make all their stuff in C/C++!

22. Use and Build GUIs for all their applications!

I know several colleagues who use terminal arguments to “USE” their software. I also know several colleagues(?) who aren’t going to survive🏕 this small tech recession. Anyone who wants to write any code that ANYBODY ELSE is gonna use, will make a gui to use their code. Maybe you’re fine doing EVERYTHING in a terminal, but you’re not just coding for yourself!

23. Write everything in an IDE!

Yeah, VIM might be all ✌️cool✌️, never having to leave your terminal, but lets be honest, if you’re not coding in an IDE like VSCode, you’re probably just doing it for pride🌈 and a REAL coder does what works, not what’s cool🥶 or hip🕺!

24. Debug with GDB!

🖨Print🖨 statements, break points, any REAL coder figured out they’ve wasted 💯MILLIONs💯 of hours⏰ debugging🐞🦟 without actual debugging software like GDB. It’s there…USE IT!

25. Never write single line if statements/loops!

Yeah it might be 💪IMPRESSIVE🏃‍♂️ if you can code that complicated loop or conditional in one line but dang if it isn’t 😡IMPOSSIBLE 😤TO🤬 READ😠! I don’t even like to have my curly bracket on the same line as the loop/conditional. It just makes it WAAY more readable🤓📚, and if you’re not concerned about 🤓readability📚, you’re probably not a REAL programmer. Maybe you’re just a kid trying to impress your friends, but trust me, you’ll grow out of it.

26. REAL coders write their own databases from scratch!

I wouldn’t ever TRUST any of those commercial off the shelf databases most of my friends(🙋🏻‍♂️🙋🏿‍♂️🙋🏽‍♀️ 💁🏾‍♀️👨‍❤️‍👨👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩👩‍❤️‍👨) are using. Just make a database object, code in all of the necessary operations you learned in undergrad👩‍🎓…ass🍑uming you know HOW to make your own database, and bada-bing-bada-boom🍕🇮🇹, you have a custom database written specifically for your data. WAY MORE EFFICIENT! I love a black box⬛️ as much as the next guy, but I don’t trust em, and neither do REAL CODERS!

27. Code everything in Java!

Java☕️ is just the industry standard! It is basically portable on every SINGLE🙍‍♂️ type of operating system. So what if it might be crazy🤪 Verbose! Maybe Java☕️ is the language of industry🏭 and if your not in the PROGRAMMING industry🏭, you’re just playin in a game!

28. They only code on PCs!

Most people use PCs and so should you! Like that one nerdy guy in the 🍎apple🍎 commercial, that dude was definitely a programmer! PCs are a real OS, and you can get them SUPER 🤑cheap🤑 and powerful compared to anything 🍎apple🍎 makes! They’re just buying it so they can brag about owning a mac to all their hipster friends while writing a screen play about post-war San Francisco🌉 that NO ONE WILL READ!


One time I didn’t code in 😱🐍SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE😱🐍 and I couldn’t find a variable. Never again. There’s NOTHING that 😱screams😱 code stability and I care like coding everything in 😱🐍SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE😱🐍. It tells people that this constant is HERE_TO_STAY, that it will always be initialized

30. Write everything in Notepad++!

If you trust an IDE as much as I trust the 👎🙅‍♂️government👎🙅‍♂️, you’re probably gonna be writing some absolute GARBAGE code. Notepad++ is the only way to see everything exactly as it’s going on and if you don’t like it compared to a nice IDE or something, you’re probably using it wrong or with the wrong settings and I’d just work on that until you’re a REAL CODER!

31. Debug with print/log statements!

TIME IS MONEY! And you’re hourly rate is only going up. No one’s got time to futz around with breakpoints and debug loggers. PLUS! If you make the debug logging well enough, it can be reused for the NEXT 🐞🦟 BUG 🪲🕷!

32. Code everything in JavaScript!

I don’t care if people say IT ISN’T A REAL PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE! ☕️JavaScript runs the world and if you want your code to be beautiful🌈 and work in web platforms for the world to see, you should 100% code ALL your stuff in JavaScript like the rest of us REAL Coders!

33. They Look Like this

man sitting in front of three computers

There it is y’all stereotypical coder right there 🤓 Only sort of coder right there

34. They also look like this

woman wearing red and black checkered blouse using macbook

Well Coders can also be girls too 👯‍♀️💃👩‍🦳 [now for the ⛪️preachy📕 part⛪️]

35. They look like this!

black server racks on a room

Yeah that’s right, computers can code to, I have a friend that’s really enjoying his Github Autopilot. EVOLVE into 🤖cyborgs🤖 OR DIE!

36. They don’t look like this

As far as I am aware Herbert Walker Bush was not a coder, so I can say, this isn’t what a REAL programmer looks like!

37. They also look like this

man in red varsity jacket standing on white floor

Yeah, even 🏈🏀⚽️⚾️🎾🏐 jocks 🏓🤼‍♀️🥍🏒🏏🏉can be REAL programmers!!

Okay, yeah, if it ain’t obvious now, you really don’t get it…please don’t gate keep people. Also, most of the time it feels like a programmer is being a gatekeeper, they’re probably just being persnickety about how you’re commenting your code or naming variables and a different less judgmental type of annoying.

If you enjoyed this listicle of things programmers are way too particular about and then a short preachy bit, please like, share, and subscribe with your email, our twitter handle (@JABDE6), our facebook group hereor the Journal of Immaterial Science Subreddit for weekly content. (also email me if I missed anything, I think this list will grow overtime bmcgraw584682@gmail.com) 

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Published by B McGraw

B McGraw has lived a long and successful professional life as a software developer and researcher. After completing his BS in spaghetti coding at the department of the dark arts at Cranberry Lemon in 2005 he wasted no time in getting a masters in debugging by print statement in 2008 and obtaining his PhD with research in screwing up repos on Github in 2014. That's when he could finally get paid. In 2018 B McGraw finally made the big step of defaulting on his student loans and began advancing his career by adding his name on other people's research papers after finding one grammatical mistake in the Peer Review process.

One thought on “38 Things Real Programmers Do, and you probably aren’t one if you don’t do them all

  1. I think that you need to make a code linter with these rules so that I can be a real programmer all the time. I like it when other people tell me exactly what I already knew so I can laugh at others that don’t do exactly what you say.

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