“Spaghetti Code” as Computer Science Lingo

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Jewish
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

Informant: Spaghetti Code is exactly what it sounds like, usually, I’ll use Spaghetti Code when I need to get something working, and I don’t give a shit what it looks like. It usually works, but it breaks pretty easily It is completely unreadable but it gets the job done. 

Interviewer: In what context would you use this? 

Informant: Say I have a lab due tonight, and I have an hour to do it and I just need something to pass the cases so I just code something really half-assed and someone asked me if I did the assignment, I would tell them “yeah, I did it but it is all spaghetti.” 

Interviewer: Where did you learn it? 

Informant: Sophomore year through word of mouth, friends just kinda started using it around me so I picked it up. 

Background

The informant is a good friend and housemate of mine, and is a junior at USC studying Computer Science and Computer Engineering. He is originally from Manhattan Beach, CA and has been coding ever since highschool. He has had several internships with different computer science companies such as Microsoft and is very involved with different coding clubs on campus. 

Context

When I asked my informant how his assignment went, he described it using this term. Being something I have never heard before, I brought it up during our interview and asked him to describe it and provide some more context as to when he would use it. 

Analysis

I think this example of folk speech is a very colloquial and humorous way for computer science students to describe their work and relate to one another. It is a great indicator of the quality of their code, and provides imagery that is usually not present within the lingo and world of computer science. Especially for a subject and major that can harbor a lot of stress, it is also an indicator that could have arised when students did not have the time or effort to put in quality work into their coding assignments but still needed a way to get it done.