Embracing Imperfection: The Power of Refactoring and Iteration During Development

In our previous article, Embracing Imperfection: The Importance of Learning How to Write “Bad” Code, we explored the significance of overcoming the fear of imperfection in coding. Today, we're back with a follow-up to reinforce this concept and shed light on an essential aspect of software development: the power of refactoring and iteration.

As developers, many of us have experienced the paralyzing fear of writing imperfect code. We've all worried about making mistakes, producing subpar work, or being judged by our peers. However, we must recognize that this fear can impede our growth and hinder our progress. Embracing imperfection is a necessary step towards building something functional and doing so as quickly as possible.

Experienced developers have learned that starting with an imperfect codebase is not only acceptable but often beneficial. They understand that getting a working prototype up and running as quickly as possible is more valuable than striving for perfection from the start. By embracing this approach, they open the doors to rapid iteration, feedback, and experimentation.

One fundamental lesson to learn from experienced developers is the ability to crank out lines of code, knowing that refinement and improvement will come later during the development workflow. In this context, let's explore a concrete example: looping over an array of objects in JavaScript without using .map().

Consider the following bad code snippet written in JavaScript:

function processData(data) {
  let processedData = [];
  for (let i = 0; i < data.length; i++) {
    let obj = data[i];
    let processedObj = {};
    processedObj.id = obj.id;
    processedObj.name = obj.name;
    processedObj.age = obj.age;

  return processedData;

Although this code works, it can be refactored to be more optimized, concise, and clean. Let's explore the refactoring process in three steps:

Step 1: Using .map()

function processData(data) {
  return data.map(obj => ({
    id: obj.id,
    name: obj.name,
    age: obj.age

Step 2: Leveraging Object Destructuring

function processData(data) {
  return data.map(({ id, name, age }) => ({ id, name, age }));

Step 3: Utilizing arrow function implicit return

const processData = data => data.map(({ id, name, age }) => ({ id, name, age }));

Growing Your Skills Through Refactoring

By following these three steps, we've refactored the initial bad code into an optimized, concise, and clean solution that achieves the same functionality.

This example highlights the importance of embracing the imperfection of our initial code and focusing on achieving functionality quickly. The process of iteration allows us to receive feedback, make improvements, and refine our work gradually. We must remember that writing "bad" code initially is not a bad thing—it's a crucial step towards building something functional.

As you gain more experience, you'll notice that your first iteration becomes less and less "bad." This shift occurs because your definition of "bad" evolves based on the lessons learned through refactoring over time. What once seemed acceptable might no longer meet your standards as you refine your skills and gain more knowledge.

It's important to emphasize that this post is not about advocating for pushing bad code to production. Rather, it's about fostering a spirit of forward momentum that takes your current skill level and allows it to be free to simply write code without getting caught up in what the refactored clean version should look like from the start. It's about embracing the iterative process, seeking feedback, and continually improving your code.

So, as you embark on your coding journey, embrace the imperfections and push through the fear of writing less-than-perfect code. Start with a functional prototype, seek feedback, and iterate. By doing so, you'll unlock the power of iteration, foster continuous improvement, and ultimately become a stronger developer.

By freeing yourself from the pressure of writing impeccable code from the outset, you give yourself the space to explore, experiment, and learn. You empower yourself to write code that functions, knowing that you can refine and enhance it in subsequent iterations. This approach enables you to move forward, learn from your mistakes, and continuously improve your skills.


As developers, we must learn to overcome the fear of imperfection and embrace the power of iteration. Writing "bad" code initially is not a bad thing; it's a crucial step towards building something functional. By starting with a working prototype and iterating from there, we unlock the potential for rapid improvement, increased efficiency, and continued growth.

So, go forth with confidence, embrace the journey of iteration, and keep writing code!