How a rubber duck will make you a better developer

Jun 15, 2023

The Unexpected Benefits of a Rubber Duck

When you think of a rubber duck, you probably associate it with bath time and childhood memories. However, a rubber duck can actually help you become a better developer. This might sound strange, but the concept of "rubber duck debugging" has become a popular technique among programmers. In this blog post, we'll explore how a rubber duck can improve your development skills and enhance your problem-solving abilities.

rubber duck programming

Rubber Duck Debugging

Rubber duck debugging is a method of problem-solving that involves explaining your code to a rubber duck (or any inanimate object) as if it were a person. The idea is that by verbalizing your thought process and walking through your code step by step, you'll be able to identify any issues or errors that you may have missed while programming.

How Does It Work?

When you encounter a problem in your code, instead of immediately seeking help from a colleague or turning to Google, grab your trusty rubber duck and start explaining your code to it. As you go through each line of code, make sure to articulate your thought process, the purpose of the code, and any assumptions you've made. This will force you to think critically about your code and help you uncover any hidden issues.

developer explaining code

Benefits of Rubber Duck Debugging

  1. Improved problem-solving skills: Rubber duck debugging encourages you to think through your code thoroughly and systematically, which can help you develop better problem-solving skills over time.
  2. Better code comprehension: By explaining your code out loud, you'll gain a deeper understanding of how each piece of your code works and how they fit together.
  3. Fewer interruptions: Instead of constantly asking your colleagues for help, you can rely on your rubber duck to work through issues independently, which can lead to fewer interruptions and a more productive work environment.
  4. Enhanced communication skills: Regularly explaining your code to a rubber duck can help you become better at articulating complex concepts, which can make you a more effective communicator both with your colleagues and clients.
rubber duck on desk

Choosing Your Rubber Duck

While the classic yellow rubber duck is a popular choice for many developers, you can choose any inanimate object that speaks to you. Some developers prefer to use action figures, stuffed animals, or even coffee mugs. The key is to find an object that you feel comfortable talking to and that can "listen" to your explanations without judgment.

Personalizing Your Rubber Duck

Adding a personal touch to your rubber duck can make the debugging process even more enjoyable. Consider giving your duck a name, decorating it with stickers, or dressing it up in a tiny outfit. This can make your rubber duck feel like a true companion and help you feel more at ease while explaining your code.

personalized rubber duck

Embrace the Rubber Duck

In conclusion, rubber duck debugging is a valuable technique that can help you become a better developer by improving your problem-solving skills, code comprehension, and communication abilities. So the next time you're faced with a tricky coding problem, don't hesitate to reach for your rubber duck and start explaining your code. You might be surprised at how quickly you can uncover and resolve issues with this simple yet effective method.