A beginners guide to pair programming

Having jumped full force into classes in Ruby, I was surprised at the huge advancement in my programming skills that 2 weeks of non-stop coding delivered. Did I think I had the ability to create a CLI app from scratch? No. Read on to find out how I tackled imposter syndrome head on and work collaboratively with my partner to build a working CLI app.

You know more than you think you do

My action plan consists of making a detailed but flexible list of the tasks I need to complete and breaking them down into bitesize realistic goals.

Rather than jumping from 0 to 100, go from 0 to 10, 10 to 20, and in no time you will reach 100.

Preparation is important, reading over lecture notes, doing extensive research and trying to complete labs was a key step to building my confidence in my programming skills.

However, working towards a fast-approaching deadline meant that at some point I had to stop preparing, trust my knowledge and just do it! I was surprised by how much I actually already knew and when I got stuck at a certain point you I used targeted google searches and reach out to my partner and instructors for assistance.

Divide and conquer

We worked collaboratively to agree on realistic goals to complete in time for the deadline and stretch goals to achieve if we were ahead of schedule.

Once we completed the planning stage and had built the basic models, we divided up the remaining workload and … conquered. Touching base every few hours to keep each other in the loop about our progress & reaching out to each other when we got stuck.

Take a break

We have all encountered the frustrating moment where you have been coding for hours and a code you believed to have written correctly is not returning the expected value or raising an error when it is ran.

You spend the next few minutes attacking the keyboard by making frantic changes to your code whilst the only thing you are gaining is the increasing feeling of frustration building up.

This is an indicator that a break is needed. I would recommend using this time to practice some mindfulness. This could be meditating for 10 minutes, doing yoga or simply taking a walk.

You often find that when you distract your mind from the code for a while and return to it with a fresh perspective you can spot the spelling error you made or accept that you were overcomplicating the code and find a simpler method that works.

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