Beginner, once more

The coolest thing I am doing these days at work is building a mobile app, for both iOS and Android, using a javascript library that was built by Facebook, called React.js.

I will be completing 10 years as a Software Engineer this year, and yet when I first joined this project last April, with zilch knowledge of any sort of mobile development, I was back to square one.  It felt like a practical class from college where you are learning your first Hello World program.  This time around, there was no session or introductory class – you learn on the job.

My new project follows something called Extreme Programming, and pair programming is a part of it.

To dumb it down, pair programming means two developers work on the same task, together, brainstorming ideas and exchanging knowledge in the process. You have two monitors, two keyboards,  two mouse and a single task. One writes the code while other reviews and vice versa. You don’t ‘pair’ with the same person two/three days in a row.  This gives you an opportunity to work with everyone in the team and the knowledge about the product is shared as well, which I believe has helped me to quickly get onboard.

Pair programming is really intense if you are not used to continuously code for 8 hours a day, with one extra hour in between for lunch. We take 2 minutes of tea break sometimes as our code compiles and gets pushed to the repository. The most common question I was asked during the first week was – ‘How are the headaches?’. 😛 Looks like it is quite common for any newbie ‘pair’ to be on the verge of combustion by 6 pm. The first two weeks I returned home with massive headaches. I would reach home by 7:30 and be in bed by 9. Frankly, I even started looking for the meaning of life as I gazed deep into the night on my way back home. 😛

By fourth week, things were starting to take shape, at least in my mind. I was getting used to working an extra hour and the code was now making sense as well. Together with my pair, I was able to build some pretty nice screens too. But the most important thing is – I came in terms with the fact that there is no age limit to be a beginner, to unlearn certain methods and practices that I was so used to. 

Today, I feel extremely grateful that I got this opportunity, to start from scratch and learn a new language, explore its features and build something really cool. I am heading to my office as I type these words.  A nice hot free breakfast and a day of learning awaits me.

Friday breakfast and look at those awesome healthy bites that I get to munch all day round 😀

18 thoughts on “Beginner, once more

  1. This sounds incredibly labour intensive, but it must be exciting too! I’m glad the headaches have eased up. What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment this must bring you, Raj. Congratulations! Learning new things is what life is all about and we never stop. How nice of the company to offer you free breakfast. Looks good! 🙂

  2. I liked your attitude here, of being able to team up with someone, work on it together and at the same time learn to work together despite any differences there might arise during the process!
    All the very best to you for building the app! Hope you don’t have any more of those headaches and enjoy that sumptuous breakfast!

  3. Well, this is good attitude. See if you don’t learn something new, you won’t be up to date with new technology building capabilities. Thesedays, in software field people are well taken off jobs, companies are doing job cuts etc, so its good your company has this pair approach where you get to work on code for building mobile app. You learn something new, that is pretty nice.

  4. You will be completing 10 years as a Software Engineer this year?? I thought you are barely out of college!!!
    God, you are full of surprises, aren’t you now!
    My awe factor towards you has gone up another notch, Raj! And I DO envy you that breakfast!

  5. I quit my development post after 3 years. Programming was not something that I enjoyed at all. But you are so talented that you can do anything 🙂

  6. Wow!! I hate SEO and many other code related stuff and am in tears even with pictorial DIY to do the stuff!!! 😉
    Hats off to you for being in a job like this which is so technical and precise. I hope your headaches are gone for good!!
    Is that brekkie served to you in office? Man I am still drooling over it and now not looking forward to mine as its just toast and nimbu paani!!!!

  7. Isn’t it awesome to learn something new, especially which looks tougher than a coconut shell in the beginning? I look forward to a post outlining how your 4 weeks were… people struggling with many things in life will find it useful.

    On another note, while reading about pair programming, my eyes fell on the photo of breakfast and left me confused 😉 Glad to read you had a great time! Kudos Rajlaskhmi.

  8. Ah, that was really interesting. I have seen my husband work on Android and iOS Apps and I have a lot of respect for the work you guys do. Did you know that I am a trained Java professional but never worked in that line. 😊
    Your work sounds fascinating. Hope the headaches don’t come back again.

  9. This sounds so very cool (and exhausting). I hope to be learning new things for the rest of my life – it is what keeps you young.

  10. Hugs, Raj! ten years eh? You don’t look it. What does the app do? So curious to know. The process is intriguing. All the best to you. And you totally deserve that delicious breakfast and ZERO headaches!

  11. Sounds very intensive and yet fascinating, Raji. Actually all creative is work is like that, isn’t it? However, having headaches is no fun! Glad to know you’re starting to enjoy it.

  12. I must say you have an extremely congenial work environment. Work doesn’t seem like work if it intrigues and piques your mind and creativity. And you are right, there is no limit to have new beginnings! I am sure you’ll crack many new codes and ace at them! That snack platter is drool-worthy!

  13. This pair programming is so cool! And it would totally work for an introvert like me, because there will be just one more person to handle (the first one being me myself 😛 ) No small talk, only get the work done, talk about work and get acquainted with everyone in the team. It surely sounds amazing! 😍

  14. How absolutely fascinating! Isn’t that exactly how coding is shown in the movie The Social Network where Zuckerberg codes like crazy through the night? I particularly like the idea of pairing with a different person each day. Talk about building team work and cooperation!

    That meal looks very tempting 😉 How was it?

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