What is prudent debt?

Prudent technical debt can be considered “outdated code.” Code that doesn’t use the latest versions of everything. Code that uses patterns that have fallen out of favor. Code that is slow. Code that has long-standing bugs. Code that is verbose because it supports features and abstractions nobody uses anymore.

“We’re programmers. Programmers are, in their hearts, architects, and the first thing they want to do when they get to a site is to bulldoze the place flat and build something grand. We’re not excited by incremental renovation: tinkering, improving, planting flower beds.”

- Joel Spolsky

Who is responsible for the prudent debt?

Juniors loathe this kind of debt. It runs against everything they’ve been taught is the best way to do things, and of course, the best way is the only way.

Technical debt makes money

Seniors understand that only successful codebases live long enough to become technical debt. They understand this because they have written code that became debt. They have also tried to replace that debt and learned the same lesson everyone learns: Technical debt makes money. Not only does it make money, but it is probably superior to any replacement attempt.

Level up your interview prep. Join Educative to access 70+ hands-on prep courses.