What Makes Reading Code More Important Than Writing?

Swati Singh
Swati Singh
Digital Marketer at CodeEasyLast updated on 4/17/2023
Reading code is important skill that developers often ignore

Everyone learns how to write code if they go to a classroom. But people often forget the essence of reading code and get shocked when they go to work. After learning how to write code all along, fresh-out-of-the-classroom developers go to work, and the first thing they get as their job is to read tons and tons of code. At first, they don't need to write anything, or they might need to change two lines of code. So the crux of the story is that you have been learning how to write code for such a long time, but to your surprise, when you come to work, the first thing you are presented with is to read code. Have you ever thought about It?

If not, think again! Is writing code enough?

Developers frequently make the mistake of believing that merely writing code is the most crucial task. But they are wrong there, as reading code is also an essential skill for anyone involved in programming. One can't become a developer without the skill of reading the code. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned programmer, taking the time to understand and learn from code written by others can provide many benefits that can help you improve your programming skills and make you an effective developer.


Why is reading code important?

Spend more time in reading code to understand how applications work

Reading code in programming is as important as reading content in any spoken language you aspire to learn. By reading code you can learn how to tell a story with your code and develop your skills in writing clean, readable, and maintainable code. Let's jump into some of the reasons below why it is crucial to make it a habit to read code:


Read before writing

To master any language or be a writer, you need to read as much as possible before writing your own book or novel. Similarly, if you want to be a skilled developer and master the skill of writing code, you need first to start reading the code. Also, if you're going to make changes to an existing application you have not worked on earlier, you first need to read and understand the existing codebase. It is critical to make changes effectively to avoid introducing new bugs or breaking existing functionality.


Improving Your Debugging Skills

Generally, developers have a habit of reading less code. For example, if developers get a chance to change a tiny portion of code, they read the bare minimum needed for the task instead of spending a little more time reading and connecting the dots on how the application works. It would be best to make it a practice to read the entire program so you understand the complete functionality. By doing it, you can also help improve your debugging skills. As you work through other people's code, you will encounter bugs and issues you may not have seen before. Read code to develop your problem-solving skills and learn to debug code more effectively.


Learn the difference between Good Code and Bad Code

Reading code written by others can help you develop your sense of what constitutes bad code versus good code. You will begin to notice patterns in code that is hard to read, hard to maintain, or contains security vulnerabilities. Contrarily, you will also learn to recognise well-structured, well-documented, and efficient code.


Learn new commands and programming features

By reading code, you learn new commands, syntax and functions you may not have encountered before. Going through code from a good developer, you come across unique ideas and techniques to solve complex programming problems. You learn new ways to use tools and libraries that you may already be familiar with.


Get an idea of how others write code and also learn from their mistakes

By reading code written by others, you will also develop a deeper understanding of the programming language you are working with. You can see how other developers use different features to solve problems. Similarly, this could also help you to learn from the mistakes of others. You will encounter code that does not work correctly or contains errors, and you can learn from the issues that others have encountered. This can help you avoid making the same mistakes in your code.


Where to read code?

We, as CodeEasy, suggest expanding your reading window. The best and most trusted way to read code is through a well-written book with coding examples, and making it a practice helps you sharpen your skill. However, in today's tech-driven world, a good codebase is also available to read just a few clicks away, and that is also free-and-open-source using sites like GitHub. But all available code repositories are not always good and reliable, so you must look for the repositories with the highest number of stars.

You would have understood by now that reading code is an essential skill and a creative hobby that can help you develop your skills as a developer. Whether you are debugging your own code, learning the code at a new job, understanding an application, or looking to learn a new skill, your mastery of reading code will determine your ability to succeed. Go ahead and gain knowledge by reading, analysing, and understanding high-quality existing codebases. Happy reading!!