For those of you who are employed as programmers and have your own side projects I have a question. Having been bounced between three development companies within the last three years I’ve noticed that I tend to adapt my personal development strategies to the rules, conventions and linguistic patterns practiced by the company. For example, at my last position programmers were required to prefix variables with the primitive type such as obj, arr, int, str. So variable and property names would end up looking like $intProducts, $arrProducts, etc. Naturally that has carried through to all my work professional or personal. Another great example of one that some may be familiar with and hate is prefixing the table name for primary keys. So for a table named blogs the surrogate key would be blogs_id. Those are just two but there are several more.
Anyway, having just recently started a new position many of syntactic rules and patterns have either changed or aren’t required such as the one I mentioned above. That in itself is fine. I understand and accept it based on established norms of the company to keep code looking somewhat consistent across all developers. So that isn’t a problem at all.
What is a problem though is I have some personal stuff I’ve been working on that closely follows the conventions and rules at my previous position. So for the sake of keeping these personal projects consistent I think its best to stick to the conventions and rules used in them even though they are not what I will be professional following in my newly acquired job. To me that seems like the best approach but the major disadvantage of that is developing these projects in that form will do nothing to help reinforce the coding conventions I will need to follow now professionally.
So having thought about this issue leads me to the question whether one should change their personal development style to match their professional situation or not? Perhaps I’m going about this in the wrong way and should keep a personal baseline that may/may not deviate from my professional work developed under the company which I’m employed by?
I know a lot of you guys have personal things you have been working on and I would just like some thoughts on the issue from those in a similar situation. Do you tend to adapt your personal code style to your professional situation or maintain two separate styles so that regardless of your employer all your personal code looks the same?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer. This is just something I’ve been wondering about due to being bounced around as many times as I have in such a short and early stage of my career.