Pair Programming

So I have been working through the challenges on the freecodecamp website and one of the unique things that this site does is give you the chance to program with another person.

I am an introvert and if you were to ask me to pick up the phone and ring someone I will procrastinate a lot before doing it (if I do it at all), I also am not good at speaking with strangers but I have been enjoying the pair programming I have done so far.

I have only pair programmed a couple of times so far, so I am no expert. The first time was with someone from North America, it was weird to begin with talking to your computer and hearing an american voice respond, but you soon forget that as you concentrate on the problems you are working on.

The second time was with someone from the Netherlands. This time we tackled some trickier problems. Both times I took more of a back seat but I think contributed useful stuff and I certainly learnt a lot from the other person.

I think that is the key thing about pair programming, you learn so much about how to look at a problem from another angle, or learn about a function you haven’t heard of before. If you are reading this and it was you that I pair programmed with a big thank you for spending the time with me, I learnt a lot.

I was trying to pair program again tonight but technical problems prevented me. One problem I have found is finding a partner, was hoping to do some yesterday but no one else was around to partner with.

I would be interested to learn what companies use pair programming. I imagine a pointy haired boss would say why pay two people to do one job, when you could get them working on different things. However if you want to build up your team and give them loads more skills then pair programming would be great. I also think there are probably some problems that are crying out for pair programming.

My Year of Code

There is no escaping the fact that we are in 2015 now. My new years resolution is to do more coding.

Over Christmas I thought I would have a go at http://www.codecademy.com I completed the javascript course and I was just wondering what I should try next when I saw a tweet about http://www.freecodecamp.com

Since then I have been addicted to doing the exercises that they have, almost everyday I have made a bit of progress.

But this site is not just about teaching you how to code, it has an active forum where you can ask questions and understand more about what it takes to become a developer.

Before I started these exercises I didn’t know much javascript or jquery but I am starting to learn quite a few commands that hopefully I can put into use at some point. Whatever development I end up doing I am sure I am going to need javascript at some point.

One of the tips I have learnt is that you need to practise daily. Did you ever use flash cards to help pass exams? Well there is an electronic version of them now called Anki. Just add a question/answer pair to your deck of cards and review them each day, the ones you find difficult you review more often than the ones you have learnt.

Hopefully I can keep this up and later in the year I will be well on way to writing lots of useful code.