Technical debt is not the same as poorly written code. Technical debt refers to the shortcuts or compromises that are made in order to ship a product faster, but which may have negative consequences in the future. These shortcuts may compromise the maintainability, scalability, readability, resilience, or fault tolerance of the code.
Technical debt is taken on for various reasons, such as critical business deadlines, a lack of clarity on what needs to be built, a lack of standards, or a lack of knowledge or ownership. Like financial debt, technical debt accumulates over time and can become unmanageable if not addressed. This can lead to increased development time for even simple features and increased downtime in the event of a system crash.
It is important to pay off technical debt regularly, and good developers often do this by refactoring code to remove unnecessary or redundant elements, rather than simply adding more code.
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