For the first two weeks at Hackbright, we’ve been working as pair programmers. We team up with a new person almost every day and spend about 4 to 6 hours programming with our pair.
Each person gets a keyboard, mouse and screen but you share the same OS. Thus, you have to take turns driving the computer and be ready to figure out how to share the work with your partner.
Training in pair programming is setting students up to work out the kinks and deal with real work world experiences where pair programming is typically used for new developers and engineers.
If you haven’t done this before and even if you have, it can be very challenging to share tools when working on a project and learning a new language. That urge to just take over the keyboard and do it yourself is very strong.
The key points this approach can teach if you let it:
- How to share knowledge and learn from others
- How to communicate what you want to do and why
Best way to approach pair programming is to keep perspective that:
- There are multiple ways to think about and solve a problem
- There are different personality types
- There are different communication styles
- Patience really is a virtue
- Basically – your way is not the only way
You don’t have to come from different countries to have a different way to think and communicate. You can literally come from the same household. Hello dysfunctional family.
Building solid communication skills is really the key to success with pair programming as it is also at the heart of many challenges out there. No matter how much an expert you think you are, there is always room to learn and improve your communication skills.