Software Internships Won’t Help

Editors Note: I have since changed my mind on this post as I have developed and run a successful internship program for many years now. However, I will preserve this as-is for posterity.

Read this post from Uncle Bob, and be sure to watch the video—that’s the scary part.

I take issue with Uncle Bob’s idea of internship. Having Senior Developers mentor interns can create a culture of inbred, non-innovative practices. The temptation is to think that you can teach smart development practices. All you can teach is a litany of concretes. The junior developer has to turn their brain on to grasp the principles involved. In short, I don’t think Uncle Bob’s solution is that new, or that it would solve any of the problems he describes.

I think the problem is deeper than just lack of skill or training. What software development needs is a revolution in values. We as developers need to value high-quality, unit-tested, organized, clean code. We need to value the drive to excellence, not just the willingness but the desire to learn, and make room for innovation. Software development managers need to refuse to tolerate anything less. We need to stop sacrificing design and test to the altar of the arbitrary dead-line. Fortunately, we don’t need to start that revolution as it is already under way—Uncle Bob’s post being a recent shot fired in that war.


The link to Uncle Bob’s original url moved. I updated it.

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