Technical Debt in student projects

Technical Debt in student projects


Technical debt can also occur in student projects, just as it can in professional software development projects. In a student project, technical debt may arise when a student takes shortcuts or makes quick fixes to meet a deadline or to get a project to work, rather than investing the time and effort to implement a more robust or maintainable solution.

It is important for students to be aware of the concept of technical debt and to try to avoid accumulating it in their projects. While it may be tempting to take shortcuts or to implement quick fixes in order to meet a deadline or to get a project to work, these decisions can come back to haunt a student later on if the project is not well-designed or maintainable.

To avoid technical debt in student projects, it is important for students to plan their projects carefully, to allocate sufficient time for development and testing, and to seek feedback and guidance from instructors and peers. It is also important to follow good software development practices, such as writing clean, well-documented code, using version control, and regularly testing and debugging the project. By being proactive and taking a long-term approach to their projects, students can avoid accumulating technical debt and can develop more robust and maintainable solutions.

 

There are several ways that students can identify technical debt in their projects:

  1. Code reviews: Conducting code reviews with peers or mentors can help students to identify areas of their code that may be candidates for technical debt. Code reviews can also help students to learn best practices and improve their coding skills.

  2. Refactoring: Regularly reviewing and refactoring code can help students to identify areas that may be unnecessarily complex or difficult to maintain, and to address them before they become a significant source of technical debt.

  3. Testing: Conducting thorough testing can help students to identify areas of their code that are prone to errors or bugs, which can be a sign of technical debt.

  4. Code metrics: Tools such as static code analysis or code complexity metrics can help students to identify areas of their code that may be candidates for technical debt.

  5. User feedback: Gathering feedback from users or testers can help students to identify areas of their code that are confusing or difficult to use, which may be a sign of technical debt.

Overall, there are several ways that students can identify technical debt in their projects, including code reviews, refactoring, testing, code metrics, and user feedback. By regularly reviewing and assessing their code, students can identify and address technical debt before it becomes a significant issue.

There are several factors that students can consider when evaluating technical debt in their projects:

  1. Impact: Consider the impact that the technical debt is having on the project. For example, is it causing errors or bugs, making it difficult to maintain or modify the code, or impacting the performance or quality of the project?

  2. Cost: Consider the cost of addressing the technical debt. This can include the time and resources required to refactor or rewrite the code, as well as any potential costs or risks associated with delaying the work.

  3. Priority: Consider the priority of addressing the technical debt. Is it a critical issue that needs to be addressed immediately, or is it something that can wait until later?

  4. Value: Consider the value that addressing the technical debt will bring to the project. For example, will it improve the quality, maintainability, or performance of the project, or will 

  5. it make it easier to add new features or scale the project in the future? 

  6. By evaluating technical debt in these terms, students can determine the best approach for addressing it in their projects. It may be necessary to prioritize certain areas of technical debt over others, depending on the impact, cost, priority, and value of the work.

Technical debt in student projects can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  1. Lack of experience: Students who are new to programming or who are learning a new programming language may be more prone to making mistakes or writing code that is not optimal. This can lead to technical debt as they learn and improve their skills.

  2. Time constraints: Students may be under pressure to complete their projects within a certain timeframe, which can lead them to make shortcuts or compromises in the quality of their code in order to meet deadlines.

  3. Lack of knowledge: Students may not have a complete understanding of the technologies or best practices that they are using in their projects, which can lead to technical debt.

  4. Complexity: Complex projects or requirements may lead students to write code that is difficult to maintain or understand, which can contribute to technical debt.

  5. Limited resources: Students may have limited resources, such as time or access to expertise, which can make it more difficult to write high-quality code and may contribute to technical debt.

Overall, technical debt in student projects can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of experience, time constraints, lack of knowledge, complexity, and limited resources. It is important for students to be aware of these factors and to take steps to minimize technical debt in their projects.

 

Technical debt in student projects can have a number of negative impacts, including:

  1. Reduced quality: Technical debt can result in code that is poorly written, poorly structured, or otherwise difficult to maintain. This can lead to reduced quality in the finished project and may make it more difficult for others to understand or use the code.

  2. Reduced efficiency: Technical debt can make it more difficult and time-consuming to make changes or add new features to a project. This can lead to reduced efficiency and may make it difficult to meet deadlines or deliver the project on time.

  3. Increased risk: Technical debt can increase the risk of errors or bugs in the project, which can lead to delays and additional costs to fix the problems. It can also increase the risk of security vulnerabilities or other issues that could compromise the integrity or reliability of the project.

  4. Reduced maintainability: Technical debt can make it more difficult to maintain and update a project over time, which can increase the long-term costs of the project and make it less sustainable.

Overall, technical debt can have significant negative impacts on student projects, including reduced quality, efficiency, and maintainability, as well as increased risk. It is important for students to be aware of the potential consequences of technical debt and to take steps to minimize it in their projects.

 

A framework for minimizing technical debt in student projects could include the following steps:

  1. Identify the goals and requirements of the project: It is important to understand the goals and requirements of the project in order to determine the best approach to solving problems.

  2. Plan and design the project: Take the time to carefully plan and design the project before starting to code. This can help to identify potential problems and to determine the best approach to solving them.

  3. Follow good software development practices: Good software development practices, such as writing clean, well-documented code and using version control, can help to minimize technical debt.

  4. Test and debug regularly: Regular testing and debugging can help to identify and fix problems before they become too difficult to resolve.

  5. Seek feedback and guidance: Getting feedback and guidance from instructors and peers can help students to identify and address potential problems early on in the development process.

  6. Allocate sufficient time for development and testing: It is important to allocate sufficient time for development and testing to ensure that a project is robust and well-designed.

  7. Prioritize tasks: Students should prioritize tasks and allocate their time and resources accordingly. It may be necessary to take on some technical debt in the short term in order to meet a deadline, but it is important to plan for the long term and allocate sufficient time and resources to address technical debt as it arises.

  8. Manage scope: Be mindful of the scope of the project, and avoid taking on too much work or adding unnecessary features that may increase the risk of technical debt.

By following this kind of framework, students can minimize technical debt in their projects and develop more robust and maintainable solutions. 

Here is a snippet of code that demonstrates how technical debt might be introduced in a student project:

def calculate_total(items):
  total = 0
  for item in items:
    if item.price:
      total += item.price
  return total

 

In this example, the calculate_total function calculates the total price of a list of items. However, this code has the potential to introduce technical debt because it does not adequately handle cases where the price attribute of an item is not set or is None. If this code is used in a production environment, it could result in errors or unexpected behavior.

To minimize the risk of technical debt in this code, the student could modify the function to handle cases where the price attribute is not set, for example:

def calculate_total(items):
  total = 0
  for item in items:
    if item.price:
      total += item.price
    else:
      total += 0  # or some default value
  return total

By making this change, the student can minimize the risk of technical debt in the project and ensure that the code is more robust and reliable.

Dec. 20, 2022, 8:12 a.m. | Authored by Dihfahsih

2 Comments

You rise a good point

Chega | 1 year, 4 months ago | 0 Replies
1 0

how will the framework improve the grading of the project prone to technical debt

chatbut | 1 year, 5 months ago | 0 Replies
1 0

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