Software Craftsman ( Chapter 15 & 16)

Chapter 15 was all about the benefits of writing quality/expensive code vs. average/cheap code. It is a myth that quality code is expensive. According to the book, often managers must choose between producing quality products which take time to produce and average code that does not take much time to produce.  It is the duty of software craftsmen to produce clean quality code that is inexpensive.

Overall, what I learnt from this chapter is that quality code is not expensive. The lack of skills on the part of the developer is what makes quality code expensive. Developers must do their best to produce quality code which is inexpensive.

Chapter 16 was about what it means to be a software craftsman and how to have a successful carrier. The #1 word that summarizes what it means to be a software craftsman is passion. Software craftsmen are passionate developers and they love what they do. Being a software craftsman means that you much constantly learn and improve your craft/skills. You are in a journey to mastery. Mastery of software development is a long hard road. Every carrier decision you make must be in order to move you forward in your goal to mastery. And also, as mentioned in the previous chapters a job is a mutually beneficial relationship. Both the employer and the employee must get the best out of the relationship.

To sum up, I learnt about what is takes to develop quality/inexpensive software and what it means to be a software craftsman from reading these chapters.

Software Craftsman ( Chapters 13 & 14)

Chapter 13 is all about creating a culture of learning at your company. Here are some of the things that the author thinks can be done to improve the morale and create a culture of learning:

  1. Start a book club.
  2. Have a tech lunch.
  3. Have group discussions.
  4. Conduct group code reviews.
  5. Have hands-on coding sessions.
  6. Start internal communities of practice.
  7. Encourage pet-project time.
  8. Engage with external technical communities.

Creating a culture of learning and motivating developers is important for a company as it directly impacts the code developers write. Ultimately, this depends on the developers; hiring passionate developers and providing them with a good environment would improve the innovation of the company.

Chapter 14 is about how to convince skeptics into adopting new practices or changing the culture. The first step according to the book is to identify the type of skeptics. The following are the types of skeptics the book talks about:

  1. The uninformed.
  2. The herd.
  3. The cynic.
  4. The burned.
  5. The time crunched.
  6. The boss.
  7. The irrational.
  8. The indifferent.
  9. The wronged.
  10. The inept.
  11. The ivory-tower architect.
  12. The insecure.
  13. The fanboy.

The chapter goes on and on about how to convince these skeptics to adopt something. Overall, what I got out of this chapter is that I must be good at what I do, I must communicate clearly, and I must establish trust to drive change.

Learning Reflection (Sprint 6)

We picked four issues to work on this sprint. We made some progress into fixing them, but it turned out that the AMPATH team had fixed them. At the end of the sprint we decided what needs to be done to complete the presentation. We plan on meeting somewhere before our presentation and work on our presentation.

The only thing I learnt this sprint is that always ask questions when in doubt. If we had not asked the AMPATH team for guidance on the issue we would never have known the issue was already solved.

The Software Craftsman (Chapters 11 & 12)

I found this chapter 11 really interesting and useful. Most of the scenarios that the author describes I have experienced.

The author mentions that before talented developers accept a offer they consider the financial offer, autonomy, mastery, purpose, productive partnership, talented and passionate people, and a good working environment. Of all the factors involved, I think working with talented and passionate people is the most important. I know what it feels like to work with unpassionate people. Working with unpassionate developers is not very productive and can be quite irritating. The only reason that I am a Software Engineer is because I LOVE Computer Science and I LOVE the craft of developing software. It is hard to work with other developers on creating software who do NOT share the same LOVE. You would not grow as a developer if you stick with unpassionate developers.

The author then talks about interview anti-patterns. The following are the interview anti-patterns mentioned in the chapter: don’t be a smart-ass interviewer, don’t use brainteasers, don’t ask questions to which you don’t know the answers, don’t try to make the candidate look like a fool, don’t block the internet, don’t code on a piece of paper, don’t use algorithms, and don’t conduct phone interviews. I have experienced all of these anti-patterns on my interviews for a year now. I would love to share some of my experiences, but unfortunately I don’t think it would be wise to do it.

The most important thing to understand from this chapter is that you as a software engineer are not a slave to your employer.

Chapter 11 is all about how important the morale of a team is. Low morale can destroy a company; and unmotivated people do a lousy job. A company must bring the best out an employee.

The Software Craftsman (Chapters 9 & 10)

Chapter 9 was all about how to recruit good developers; it was a very interesting read. The author explains what is wrong with the recruitment process in most companies and how to fix it.

One of the major issues with recruitment today is that companies recruit developers just by their resumes and keywords in them. They value keywords ( whether a developer has worked is some technology for x years) rather than whether the developer is passionate about development.

It is very hard to judge whether a developer is passionate about developmen or not. One of the ways that the author judged passion was whether the developer had a gitHub accout, had contributed to open source projects, have a twitter account, have a blog, or have spoken at conferences.

I totally aggree with the ideas in this chapter. Most companies that I interviewed with were more interested in the keywords in my resume than actually accessing whether I had the knowledge, aptitude and passion for software development. Some others asked me stupid obscure questions related to data structures and algorithms that I don’t have at the top of my head at all times, but could solve them if I was given some time to think.

Chapter 10 was about the software developer interview process. The main thing that I learnt from this chapter was that interviewing is like a business negeotiation. The company has needs and problems to solve and the software professional can help the company solve them. The software professional needs to understand the risks and rewards of that negeotiation before signing any contract. The software professional has a reputation and anything that can damage that reputation must be considered a risk.

The rest of the chapter was about how to properly interview a candidate.

Learning Reflection – Sprint 5

We successfully made the pull request and merged the NGPOC-184 branch to the AMPATH master branch. The most important thing that I learnt was how to squash commits. Overall, this was the most productive sprint we had so far.

The thing that I think could be done differently the next sprint is how we divide the tasks. We did not know how to divide the NGPOC-184 issue into tasks so that everybody could work on it. What I learnt is that each issue could be divided into the following tasks:

1) Research ( How to solve the issue ?)

2) Solve the issue ( Somebody writes the code and pushes the changes to group                                                     repo. Can be done collaboratively.)

3) Fix npm lint errors ( Somebody fixes the lint errors)

4) Squash commit and make pull request.

5) Inform AMPATH team to do QA tests.

I plan to divide our next issue into the tasks above. This way our issues are solved much faster.

The Software Craftsman ( Chapter 7 & 8)

Chapter 7 is about the usefulness of technical practices and how to convince your peers on using some of those technical practices. This chapter talks about many things that I don’t think are very useful at this point of my carrier.

Chapter 8 is about what motivates us and how to build a career. The first section of this chapter starts out with a story of the author ( I think). The author had a dream of working in London and he figured the way achieve that dream is to become a software engineer.  He did not speak English at the time and his skills set was pretty basic. He however did not give; he kept working toward his goal until 10 years later he finally achieved his dream. He became a software engineer working in UK.

The moral of the story I think is that nothing comes for free and mastering a skill of achieving a goal takes time and hard work.

And also a software craftsman must always look for three things when choosing a job: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.