Empirical evaluation of the effects of experience on code quality and programmer productivity: an exploratory study

  • Oscar Dieste
  • Alejandrina M. Aranda
  • Fernando Uyaguari
  • Burak Turhan
  • Ayse Tosun
  • Davide Fucci
  • Markku Oivo
  • Natalia Juristo
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10664-016-9471-3

Cite this article as:
Dieste, O., Aranda, A.M., Uyaguari, F. et al. Empir Software Eng (2017). doi:10.1007/s10664-016-9471-3

Abstract

Context

There is a widespread belief in both SE and other branches of science that experience helps professionals to improve their performance. However, cases have been reported where experience not only does not have a positive influence but sometimes even degrades the performance of professionals.

Aim

Determine whether years of experience influence programmer performance.

Method

We have analysed 10 quasi-experiments executed both in academia with graduate and postgraduate students and in industry with professionals. The experimental task was to apply ITLD on two experimental problems and then measure external code quality and programmer productivity.

Results

Programming experience gained in industry does not appear to have any effect whatsoever on quality and productivity. Overall programming experience gained in academia does tend to have a positive influence on programmer performance. These two findings may be related to the fact that, as opposed to deliberate practice, routine practice does not appear to lead to improved performance. Experience in the use of productivity tools, such as testing frameworks and IDE also has positive effects.

Conclusion

Years of experience are a poor predictor of programmer performance. Academic background and specialized knowledge of task-related aspects appear to be rather good predictors.

Keywords

Experience Industry Academy Programming Iterative test-last development External quality Productivity Performance 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Tekes
  • 24500192 (ESEIL Project)
Secretaría de Estado de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación
  • TIN2014-60490-P
Suomen Akatemia
  • 278354

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oscar Dieste
    • 1
  • Alejandrina M. Aranda
    • 1
  • Fernando Uyaguari
    • 1
  • Burak Turhan
    • 2
  • Ayse Tosun
    • 3
  • Davide Fucci
    • 2
  • Markku Oivo
    • 2
  • Natalia Juristo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros en InformáticaUniversidad Politécnica de MadridBoadilla del MonteSpain
  2. 2.Department of Information Processing ScienceUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  3. 3.Faculty of Computer & InformaticsIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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