Rubber Duck is a process in development where you talk through an issue with an inanimate object such as a Rubber Duck. It gets its name from the book The Pragmatic Programmer where it was first used.

I am the only programmer where I work and often I find myself with a question that I can’t find the answer to. I do however have a few friends who are far more knowledgeable than I am about this sort of thing. I often find myself explaining my problem via an email to them. During the process of writing this email I have to explain my problem and this sometime reveals the problem and I don’t even need to send the email. At other times by the time they have replied to me, my brain has moved on with the problem sufficiently that I am close to a solution if I am not already there.

Other people use different items as their ‘Rubber Duck’, people on the code newbie forum have used items such as a cat, stuffed octopus, a Lego minfig, or just plain old talking to yourself.

Being the only programmer in my office is difficult. A simple what do you think of this question that could be asked across the office has to be done inside my head and I may think a needlessly complex solution is better than a simple one just because I haven’t thought of the simpler version yet. There are of course advantages to being the only programmer, I can do what I want and learn any technology I like, but I am starting to think the advantages of programming in a group are outweighing programming alone.

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Simon Foster
Web Developer
I have worked in SysAdmin and IT Management but now work as a Web Developer. I love everything IT related and I am trying to learn as much as I can especially about DevOps. Why not follow me on twitter?