Rubbing Elbows


My blog post this week will be on the chapter “Rubbing Elbows” of Apprenticeship Patterns, in which the reader is encouraged to seek out working with another fellow software developer. The basic thought behind this is that if you develop software alone you can reach points where your learning can stagnate, and cooperative work can get you to learn things in new ways. One very important point that the author made was the aspect of “micro-techniques” (small ways one developer has found to handle certain problems or situations) and how important learning them from other developers can be. This is important to me, and should be to others, because I feel I had to figure out how important those “micro-techniques” are first hand. When I first started working with software I was very independent, not wanting other people’s help. But, the longer that I have worked with software, and just worked in general, I have found out how important it is to see problems and fixes for them from other people’s perspectives. Towards the end of this pattern, the author again points out this importance of being able to see problems from others points of view, even if in the end you do not agree with another person’s perspective. One thing that I found interesting, and wound up doing more research into, was the idea of pair programming. The idea behind this programming technique is to have two programmers work together on one terminal with one programmer writing the code, while the other reviews each line written. This approach of matching a journeyman programmer with an apprentice I can see being very effective way for both the apprentice to gain critical knowledge and for the journeyman to progress further towards becoming a master by passing on his knowledge. One downside to implementing this technique with pair programming that the author points out is that the apprentice may often feel lost, but I feel this can be combined with another one of the patterns(Expose your Ignorance). In essence I feel that as the apprentice in this case, you have to be humble, acknowledge you won’t know much, and to ask a LOT of questions. Don’t ask just  one person these questions too, but ask other’s the same questions to see their perspective on the same problems.

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