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 😀