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Podcast 122 - Everybody's Free to Write Unit Tests

December 25, 2020 mgroves 0 Comments
Tags: csadvent podcast parody

For this year's C# Advent, I decided to finally implement an idea that I've been kicking around for a couple of years now. It's a parody of Baz Luhrmann's Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) track from 1997. The "lyrics" are from a Chicago Tribune column written by Mary Schmich, entitled "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young". Much of the advice in the original song has stuck with me over the years, and it continues to be relevant and entertaining.

I thought that a version created just for developers, programmers, coders, engineers would be fun. I commissioned the help of voice actor Noah Jenkins (on Twitter @GeekyVoices) to bring a voice to my writing, and I laid his voice over a karaoke version of the song. (By the way, if you need voicework, I can highly recommend him!)

Please enjoy! Make sure to check out all the other great entries into this year's C# Advent. I look forward to doing it again next year.


Coders, developers, software engineers, and programmers in the year of 2020
Write unit tests
If I could offer you only one tip for the future
Unit tests would be it

The long term benefits of unit tests have been proven by studies
Whereas the rest of my advice
Has no basis more reliable than my own
Meandering, flawed experience
I will dispense this

Enjoy the power and beauty of your code
But, never mind
You'll look back on your code in 6 months and wonder who let you near a keyboard.
But trust me, this means you're improving.
Seeing your past code as flawed just means that you are learning.
You are not as bad a coder as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future
Or worry
But know that worrying is as effective as trying to write the next Facebook on a TRS-80.
The real troubles in your career are apt to be things that you never learned in college or boot camp.
The kind where your team decides to deploy to production on Friday at 5pm.

Do something everyday that challenges you.


Don't judge other people harshly in code review.
Don't put up with people who harshly judge yours.

Write docs.

Don't waste time on jealousy.
Some days you're killing it, some days you aren't.
The race is long
And in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember the compliments, put them in a special folder.
Forget YouTube comments.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how

Keep your old code in an open source repository
Throw away your unused domain names.

Take days off.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your career
The most interesting people I know aren't doing at 40 what they thought they wanted to do at 22.
And many of them say they still don't know what they're doing.

Get plenty of C#

Be kind to your wrists
You'll miss them when they're gone

Maybe you'll start a company, maybe you won't

Maybe you'll get stock options and bonuses, maybe you won't.

Maybe you'll go into management.

Maybe you'll give up on computers completely and open a boutique when you turn 50

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either
Your choices are at least partially chance, and so are everybody else's

Use your body
Use it on something manual and analog
Don't be afraid of stepping away from the computer, and what you might miss on Twitter
Honest labor will let your mind rest


Even if your boss isn't going to pay for it
Read blog posts, even if you don't agree with them
Go to conferences, even if you spend more time in the hallway than the sessions
Education is not something you can ever finish.
DO NOT read the comments on Hacker News and Reddit, they will only make you feel terrible


Get to know your family
You never know when they'll be gone for good

Be nice to your siblings
They are your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future
Send a Snopes link if you must
But don't argue with their political views in public on Facebook

Understand that teammates come and go
But for the precious few you should hold on to
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
Because the older you get, the more you need the people that knew you when you were young

Work for a government agency once
But leave before it makes you grumpy
Work for a silicon valley startup once
But leave before it turns you into an insufferable hipster


Accept certain inalienable truths
Developers get distracted by newer frameworks
Bugs will always be around
You too will get old
And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young
New frameworks were always better
There weren't so many bugs
Certifications were important
And junior developers respected their seniors

Respect YOUR seniors

Don't expect anyone to hand you anything
Maybe you'll have stock options
Maybe you'll get V.C. funding
But you never know when either might run out

Don't be cocky about any once piece of technology
Or by the time you're 50, you'll be known as "that Windows Phone guy"

Be careful whose mentorship you seek
But be patient with anyone who supplies mentoring
Advice is a form of nostalgia
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the garbage, wiping it off
Smoothing over the ugly parts and redeeming it for more than it's worth

But trust me on the unit tests




Matthew D. Groves

About the Author

Matthew D. Groves lives in Central Ohio. He works remotely, loves to code, and is a Microsoft MVP.

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