CS@Worcester – Fun in Function 2018-02-18 23:46:51

“The Deep End” resonated with me, not because I’ve applied the pattern before, but rather because I’ve been thrown into the deep end. When I took Data Structures at a different college over the summer, I found out the course was being taught using C, which I hadn’t yet learned. My dad accurately described the task ahead of me as, “Here’s a new [human] language. Write a novel.”

Worse, the professor was often unhelpful. The pattern, which encourages taking challenges and high-profile roles, warns that you could end up in over your head and drown in trying to apply it. I actually compared my emotional state those first couple of weeks to drowning in the middle of the ocean, because I was so out of my depth, no one could help me, and the consequences of failure were drastic. And I was failing for a while. Assignments were graded using an automated system that tended to give out 100s or 0s with no in-between, and 10 points got taken off for every day late. I fell behind and was submitting assignments late, which in turn gave me less time to work on the next one.

The Deep End identifies Find Mentors and Kindred Spirits as patterns that can be used to mitigate its risks. What eventually made me feel less like I was drowning was identifying the one tutor available for the class who seemed to know what he was doing and reaching out to him for help. He was accommodating and even offered to look at my code outside of his tutoring hours. It was, in fact, finding a mentor/kindred spirit that enabled me to salvage the situation.

Good things came of surviving the deep end. I was able to take Robotics the next semester because my knowledge of C made me feel more prepared than I would have otherwise. My Unix Systems Programming course this semester is also turning out to be much easier than it could’ve been.

The idea for action given at the end is also interesting. The writers suggest rating every project you’ve ever worked on using your own ways of measuring complexity or difficulty, and then plotting new projects that come along in a chart with the others. This seems like a good idea for making sure your career trajectory is going up and consistently challenging you instead of stagnating.

As a final note, the idea of applying this pattern by taking high-profile roles also reminded me of a principle one of my role models has: that if you’re given something you feel you don’t deserve, the answer isn’t to refuse, it’s to take it and work hard to deserve it.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Fun in Function by funinfunction and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Apprenticeship Patterns: Nurture Your Passion

From the blog CS@Worcester – BenLag's Blog by benlagblog and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Emptying the Cup: Concrete Skills

In this section of the Apprenticeship Patterns, the term “concrete skills” was introduced. It gives us an overview of why having certain concrete skills are necessary to have, especially when you, as an apprentice, will start developing your craft in the software development team. For example, a concrete skill can be your “First Language”, where you have prior knowledge and skills on understanding the programming language and knowing how to implement it in an IDE.

“Having knowledge is not the same as having the skill and practical ability to apply that knowledge to create software applications.”

I found this idea very useful and I completely agree with it because a developer who has adequate or substantial knowledge in software development has no value in their team if they do not know how to implement their knowledge in their craft. Therefore, the develop has no value in their team, and is nothing more than a dud in the team.

“The point is that you will often require hiring managers to take a leap of faith in choosing you. Concrete skills (which are ideally discrete enough that you can bring toy implementations to an interview) allow you to meet them halfway. The concrete skills you possess are your answer to the question: “If we hire you today, what can you do on Monday morning that will benefit us?” A deep understanding of ‘Your First Language’ will help establish your credibility and should prove to be extremely useful to your team.”

This idea supports that programming languages can be an effective concrete skill to have. Programming Languages, however, are not the only concrete skills that developers may need to have. Team management, communication, and organization skills are also necessary to have in order to have an efficient and cohesive team.

Reading this Apprenticeship Pattern made me think about the development capstone class because it made me evaluate myself and my team members on where we stand in acquiring our concrete skills. Within the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying to get use to Angular by doing more of the Angular tutorials so I can be well equipped on that knowledge on how use Angular. I think that would be a great task for me to do so in case if my teammates need help on Angular, I can show them, which is how I can be become a valuable asset to the team and our success.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Ricky Phan by Ricky Phan CS Worcester and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Find Mentors

It’s important to realize that the path you are taking (it doesn’t matter what path that is) has more than likely been traveled before, or at the very least where you stand at the beginning of your career is where many have stood before you.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel and learn all the ins and outs while trying to determine and travel your career path without guidance.  There is an abundance of craftsmen with a career full of information out there, whether it is your boss, a senior team member, or just someone in the field that you look up to.  What is important is that you seek them out and develop an open dialog back and forth with them so you can prosper in whatever you decide to do.  Ideally you want to find a master craftsman that has walked a good distance along the path and not someone who is only a few steps in front of you.  While you should still develop a relationship with the person in front of you, and is the basis of other apprenticeship patterns, it is not as a mentor and not the topic of this post.  Your mentor should also be ready and willing to accept the responsibility of taking on an apprentice.  It is a very fulfilling and very important relationship to develop in your career and will benefit you greatly to learn from their experience and grow as a developer.  Remember though that your mentor does not know everything though and is not infallible.  There should be a respectful, open, back and forth communication between both of you.  A communication designed not just to receive directions and blindly follow them to build your career, but one where you can ask why they made those choices in their own career or why they are recommending this course of action to you.  One that is strong enough not to crumble if you take in your mentor’s advice and in the end still decide not to follow it, but to take a different route that they may not agree with but still respect your choice.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Tim's Blog by nbhc24 and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Pattern 3 : Use The Source

 I found this chapter (pattern) to be another intriguingly good read. It addressed an issue I had questioned a fellow programmer about. I asked him about all these great programmers that have written many prestigious codes and programs. They didn’t have access to these Google sources we are able to consult for help to aid us in figuring out issues and problems. What did they look up when they had issues? Imagine a programing world where you couldn’t Google or look at other great programing works to model out a solution. No open source API’s and frameworks to work with. It would be very difficult to get things done. As the author said, if you don’t look at the works of other that are better than you, you are doomed to continue making your own mistakes and carry on your bad habits. I believe one of my professors made a confession about how much his coding changed for the better after reading the book, clean code. We often forget that we are a generation that strives to continually move forward and the key to doing this is by learning from others mistakes and building upon it so we don’t have to make the same mistakes by so doing, we maximize our time spent on moving forward. The development of one’s programming abilities is not a day’s journey. It takes many years of learning, reading and absorbing varieties of programing techniques and its proper applications. Through your learning, you will begin to develop a keen sense for what is proper and practical. You will also learn to understand the decisions and thought processes that goes into all the good programming works. Programming remains an art that needs to mastered and the more you are exposed to others exhibits and what the experts think about them, the more you will learn, see and inspire you own artistic sense. Although not to be confused with mimicking, we need to understand that everyone has their own niche that they will have to carve but this will result from being exposed to many programing’s forms and finding the one that works for you.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Le Blog Spot by Abranti3 Dada Kay and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Find Mentors


You’re walking along a path with no idea of what’s around the next corner or how to prepare for it. You need help and guidance.

The solution the book offers is to seek out those who have gone ahead of you and strive to learn from them. Since our field is fairly young, it can be difficult to find someone who is truly a master craftsman. More than likely you will get support from a series a mentors with varying degrees of mastery. Help can come in many forms, you can get help one-to-one with someone or remotely via the internet. While an apprentice is trying to find mentors, we must remember we are all walking “The Long Road” and no one knows everything. More problems you might have is finding a mentor who in interested in mentoring or who isn’t intimidated by the task of being responsible for another persons learning. It may seem risky to ask someone for help and fear rejection but the payoff is worth it if your offer is accepted. Just as people will be ahead of you, there will also be people who are behind you. You are also tasked with finding those who you may offer to help with information you’ve learned. Passing along what you’ve learned in one of the ways you can being the transition into journeymen status.

I think it’s super important to find someone or a group of people to ask to pass on what they know about the current state of our field. I think work is a great place to meet people that can offer you their skills and knowledge, especially because you will be building relationships with these people and seeing them every day. The text advises picking a tool, library, or community that has an active mailing list and learning the values of the community. Learn who the teachers are and seek out those who may be interested in offering help, I would consider this a great idea. I think sharing what we’ve learned if very important, it helps everybody, it helps the world. I would be super grateful for anybody who’s willing to take the time to share what they’ve learned and I know some people enjoy sharing their knowledge and would be flattered if someone asked for their help.

The post Find Mentors appeared first on code friendly.

From the blog CS@Worcester – code friendly by erik and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Unleash Your Enthusiasm

Most apprentices like me always face problems such as frustration and discouragement from peers and even their craftsmen sometimes. It is my dream as an apprentice to excel in my learning.  Some craftsmen will always intimidate their apprentices and it takes a brave and focus apprentice to stay on track. Sometimes, it is not just the craftsmen that will give you hard time. Being in a team that dictates your contribution can cause you a lot of damage in your learning. As a first comer, those who have been in the apprenticeship for years might have the mind set of you not knowing anything yet and will not value your contributions. Also, moment you have that feeling of fear and not able to speak out your ideas, you are on your way to failure.

However, this pattern has good information that can help me as an apprentice to figure out how to deal with most situations whiles learning.  One thing I have come to notice is that you cannot meet your desired expectation if you have no passion for what you are learning. Being happy or excited of what you learning or working on will actually enable you to put much effort into achieving your goals.

I am actually surprised of what makes a better team. Even though I am aware that a team of experience members can have problem due to everybody trying to be the leader, I usually think they will still have a better result. A team with varying levels of experience is the least I can think of being successful in its activities. I also think, believing in yourself that your contribution to a team will make a difference will enable you to openly speak out. Sometimes, I try to get as much as I could from my team members by listening to all they have to offer but very careful of what information I am taking from them because more often they are either misleading or conflicting with what I knew.

Again, I am not surprise craftsmen learn from their apprentices because a good apprentice will always search for knowledge outside his confined area and when his findings are openly embrace, craftsmen will benefit from it. Reading this pattern has impacted me with ideas that will help me focus on my apprenticeship journey. I will openly unleash my enthusiasm and would never allow others or circumstances around me to dictates what I can offer to my team.



From the blog CS@Worcester – Computer Science Exploration by ioplay and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.