Category Archives: Week 10

Week 10: Practice, Practice, Practice

For this week, I chose to read the pattern ‘Practice, Practice, Practice’ from Chapter 5: Perpetual Learning. The name is pretty self explanatory as to what the pattern will be on, practicing. I originally chose this pattern because it’s something that we need to reinforce within ourselves in order to get better at something, for coding especially. This is something I still struggle with due to my lack of drive and motivation but everyday is another day to push myself. Any way, the context of this pattern is wanting to get better at the things you do, to develop concrete skills. Again, just looking at the title gave away the context of this pattern, but that was it.

For the problem of the pattern, it is being unable to learn from your mistakes due to the performance of you daily programming activities, you feel like you’re always on stage. I assume this is in context of a job, but I haven’t experienced this problem yet so knowing about it ahead of time is going to help me down the line. For the solution of this pattern, you want to be able to practice without interruptions and in an environment that makes you comfortable making mistakes. This seems like an easy solution but in practice I’d imagine it’s hard. The solution also mentioned having a mentor to watch you over your practice and provide feedback. This is something I’d be interested in doing but I lack the humility to have a mentor watch me and provide me feedback, I’m always trying to do things on my own. I also dread looking at feedback because I feel I always mess something up, but I believe a pattern in the one of the previous chapters mentioned to put aside your ego, so I’ll have to go look at that one again.

Finally, for the action of the pattern, something I don’t write about often but I thought it would fit here, is to read one of the books that was previously mentioned in this pattern and take an exercise from it or make one yourself. The exercise should ideally be slightly harder than you can easily solve. You’ll then do this over 4 weeks and record your solution every time and over the 4 weeks you should observe how your solutions evolve. I thought this was an interesting take on practicing coding that I’ve never heard about. I usually just one and done exercises but repeating a exercise really cements it into your head so I’d imagine this way is much more beneficial to me.

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

Craft over Art

It is important to create things beyond that what is expected. You should go above and beyond the specifications of the application and create something that will wow the product owner.

I think it’s interesting to look at software development as craftsmanship and what you create as art. I do think that programming is a form of art because you have to use your creativity to make anything that you produce. Being artistic is a good way to look at creating an application, especially one with a user interface because it is what people will be looking at whenever they interact with the software. You want something to look beautiful and appealing just like a piece of artwork. In my opinion, someone would be more likely to use attractive-looking software than one that is unappealing to the eyes. It’s also important to make something that’s easy to navigate because that enhances the user experience.

I typically try to go above and beyond in the project that I’m working on. It is good for personal growth and reflects well on my portfolio. It is nice to be able to show a future client past work and be proud of the artistic design element of what I created. I prefer working on the backend, but I do enjoy creating a nice UI that users enjoy interacting with.

I think it is important to put extra time and effort into the products that you are creating for your clients. However, I think it’s important to not get lost in the details of creating something more than they asked for. Sometimes it’s possible to add features and create things that the client might not want and then you are forced to remove them. There are other times where you might put in extra work, and you were taking time away from yourself for other projects that need attention. Even though it’s good to have just to have the learning experience, I think it’s also important to make sure that projects for clients, that you put in extra effort into, should get some form of acknowledgment.

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

“Draw Your Own Map”

Jennifer Gayle once said “You are the author and writer of your own story. Turn the page, start anew, and make sure it is a story worth telling”. In life, we have an open road that we are set upon. Sometimes there are factors that narrows that path. Upon reading Draw your own map, it has explained that we are not to be limited from outside factors. Such as a company with their own set expectations that conflicts on what you are interested in instead therefore, we must be more open to search for more opportunities. That it is alright to make modifications to our own maps to further gain motivation and values. 

I enjoyed the section of the solution for this matter; it piqued my interest where we must take the first step to make a motion forward. Even though it may be terrifying, but we must be willing and determined to walk forward. I also aggreged that we do not have make big goals that are broad but instead make smaller ones that can be achievable. This way we can make further adjustments to our map. It would not hurt to make bigger goals for long term but to break them down into small goals to conquer those bigger goals. There was not any part of the pattern I disliked as I believed this is very useful information. 

Using this pattern towards my life and career will be deeply considered when I go into the software development profession. To always remember that I can find many other opportunities that aligns with my interest of what I am looking for. And if it ever comes to fall out of place from my map that I will branch out my path even further to keep the love and interest I am intended to keep on going. Understanding that after having to trying out a new path and having a new set of values is essential to our mindset. To keep in mind that we ask ourselves is it worth it? Could this step hinder our truest potential? That is why we must keep expanding our choices and chose whichever is best in one’s interest.

From the blog cs@worcester – Dahwal Dev by Dahwal Charles and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

“The Long Road” Apprenticeship Pattern


This apprenticeship pattern concerns the long term journey that a programmer / developer will take throughout his or her lifetime. In a society that continuously values decadence, it’s important to find a path that is right for you, no matter how weird or seemingly unusual it may be. As we gain experience as programmers and developers, there will be temptation to mindlessly progress down the path of greater income and short term gain. Instead, this pattern is for those who aspire to progress down a fruitful path in software development, gaining experience in a lifelong career.

What I find most thought provoking about this pattern is the prospect of leaving the field of programming permanently to go down another field of salesmanship or to a high ranking position in a corporation. Software development to me is a very intricate and professional field that requires a lot of research, experience, and experimentation. Someone who progresses far enough into the field only for them to change directions because of their experience seems somewhat confused to me. On the other hand, it at least makes some sense as someone who has a lot of experience in software development can have a lot more skill as a business owner or a salesman in selling software, and recognizing development cycles for a product.

This pattern has indeed somewhat caused me to change my view of my future. I knew that within the software profession there were many different ways that one could go, and that we would need to be experienced with different tools if we needed to create a competent product. I wasn’t sure, however, of the potential of an opportunity arising to shift to a different career

I generally agree with this pattern. The part I agree the most is on the matter of strange roles that one may possibly find himself in in the future. Personally, my work and perspective on planning my future took a drastic turn almost a year ago, where I actively tried to search for a career as a programmer based on the tools that I already knew. Then, I found out that it’s better to learn and gain experience with new things that I don’t know, based on the demands of a job and the industry.

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

Apprenticeship Pattern: The Long Road

This week I decided to take a look at ‘The Long Road’ apprenticeship pattern that covers the expectations and the reality of becoming a software craftsman. The pattern begins by explaining that society expects immediate results without really thinking about the journey. Usually one would aspire to take the highest-paying job and the first promotion as opposed to building up your skills. The pattern encourages you to value learning and long-term growth over salary and leadership positions. Keeping a long term goal in mind allows you to hone your skills as you work towards it. Of course this pattern is not for everyone, the long road is just one of many that a software developer can take on their journey.

Reflecting on what I read in the pattern, it is certainly more realistic to set a long term goal as opposed to trying to go for the high paying jobs immediately. I am definitely guilty of having the desire for overnight success. I agree that the biggest factor for this would be today’s culture and as well as my family’s expectations of me. But when it comes to software craftsmanship, I would like to spend more time accumulating knowledge instead of settling down and potentially stop improving. The only statement that stuck with me was, “Along the way, it is not unlikely that you will take on roles of power and responsibility or find yourself quite wealthy. However, these roles and benefits are not the main motivation of the successful apprentice—they are merely by-products of a lifelong journey.” I would say that I would probably not be ready for an executive job or being a team leader, but I can’t deny that money is one of the bigger motivators when it comes to working. That being said, you always have to start from somewhere, and I have much to learn. This pattern is more so a reminder for me to take the time to improve my skills and success and money will come after.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Null Pointer by vrotimmy and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Blog 1: Expose Your Ignorance

This pattern is about shedding light to dark or unknow spaces of a craftsman knowledge. The context and problem given are that the people who are paying you to be a software developer are depending on you to know what you’re doing, and your managers and team members need confidence that you can deliver, but you are unfamiliar with some of the required technologies. The solution suggested is to show the people who are depending on you that the learning process is part of delivering software and to let them see you grow. The book also mentions how hard it is to practice it because it is scientifically proven that the need to appear competent is ingrained in most people. That being said, there is no need to hide an area of ignorance because one of the most important traits that a craftsman can possess is the ability to learn, identifying an area of ignorance and working to reduce it.

I can absolutely relate to the context given in this pattern because it’s quite frankly where I am currently at. As I am navigating working my first “real” jobs, I quickly realized that I do have many zones of ignorance and it is extremely difficult to just lay them out because there is a lot of pressure to deliver what I have been hired for. Reading this has definitely reassured me in knowing that most people feel the same. The pattern suggests asking questions as a way to expose one’s ignorance and I have really found that to be true. Often, I would just go straight to google, stackOverflow or any similar website when I was presented with unfamiliar material or when I didn’t know how to approach a task and I would ask question after I ran out of ways. I have then realized that it should be the other way around because hearing from the employer/client and asking the right questions first made my tasks easier to achieve. I found interesting the emphasis they added on expertise not being the destination but being a by-product of the long road we’re all on. It just means that with time and some practice you get the extra knowledge that make one an expert at something.

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

Expand Your Bandwidth

The Expand Your Bandwidth pattern gives advice that makes suggestions based on how the title sounds, broaden your horizons.

In learning how to traverse the field of software development there are many tools one must learn to become a successful developer. One type of solution will not work for every problem that a developer faces and that’s why it’s important to never stop learning. The problems will never stop changing and that means that sometimes the application in dealing with or recognizing the problem might change too. The authors mention that an apprentice “must develop the discipline and techniques necessary to efficiently absorb new information, as well as to understand it, retain it, and apply it.” Ways to start applying this pattern include signing up for software development newsletters, following “software luminaries” on Twitter, and even taking free courses online.

I aspire to be a better developer everyday and sometimes finding the energy to become better doesn’t exist. These moments are the most crucial in terms of my own development. I remember being a part of a mailing group where you would pledge to setting aside a dedicated 15 minutes to learning something new in the software development field or use the time trying to write a part of a program. During those 15 minutes your attention should be undivided, and you should be hyper focused on the thing that you are working on.

I agree with the sentiments of this pattern. Being able to “to be able” in this field comes with a lot of knowledge that needs to be drawn upon. Even if you are not knowledgeable about something you should be able to have the skills to know where to look to find information related to problems you are trying to solve. Once the fountain of information has been located, being able to consume it and properly nourish one’s mind is also a skill that one must obtain. Just knowing where to look is not enough. One thing the authors do mention that I may have overlooked is knowing when to stop expanding your bandwidth. This is really important because if you spend all your time trying to learn everything it will actually have a negative impact on your everyday life, in terms of work and possibly even family. This is why I think the 15 minutes a day example is a good starting point to figure out what kind of balance you need to “stay frosty”.

From the blog CS@Worcester – You have reached the upper bound by cloudtech360 and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Confront Your Ignorance

For this week’s other blog post, I have decided to look at the chapter “Confront your ignorance”. This is somewhat a continuation of the previous chapter “Expose your ignorance”. The idea of this chapter is that you, a software developer, have found gaps in your skillset, gaps that are relevant to your daily work. These gaps include tools and techniques that you need to learn. However, you don’t know where to begin and it is already expected that you know these things. Unlike “exposing your ignorance”, the solution here is to not start asking questions to try and close this gap. The idea of this chapter is to divide and conquer what you need to learn by picking one skill, tool, or technique and activity fill those gaps. However, like the other chapter, can you actively close this gap by finding a mentor in the workplace who will teach you this. According to Dave H. Hoover & Adewale Oshineye, the authors of the book, they say on this,

“This pattern is closely tied to Expose Your Ignorance, but implementing it is less of a challenge to your pride because it can be done in private, without anyone else ever finding out the things you did not know. However, as an apprentice with aspirations to mastery, you need to be willing to Expose Your Ignorance as well. Using this pattern in isolation (that is, confronting your ignorance without exposing it) runs the risk of encouraging a culture where failure and learning are unacceptable because everybody does their learning in secret.” (Dave H. Hoover & Adewale Oshineye Pg. 29)

After reading this chapter, it has changed slightly the way I will think in a work environment. I liked how this chapter coupled ideas from the previous chapter giving me a more deeper understanding about learning and growing in the workplace. I though it was cool how ideas were continued in this chapter with a different meaning. Now when presented with the issue of my own ignorance, I know now the way to think if this should be something I’m asking question about or learning on my own.

From the blog CS@worcester – Michale Friedrich by mikefriedrich1 and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Apprenticeship Patterns: Craft over Art

The craft over art apprenticeship pattern becomes relevant when you are hired to build a solution to a client’s problem. Building this would give you the oppurtunity to try something new, however a standard and stable solution already exists and is readily available. Hoover and Oshineye suggest focusing delivering to the client what they need rather than indulging an interest. It is better to build something functional for a customer over something beautiful, and you should work to balance the desire to create something artistic with the need to create something useful.

I think this apprenticeship pattern is interesting. I think, especially in a professional environment, your priority should be to create something your customer can easily use over something cool. It this pattern could be really useful if used in tandem with the breakable toys pattern I wrote about previously. I don’t think it’s bad to want to do cool and artistic things with your projects. Building something you think is beautiful sounds like a really good way to expiriment and develope your skills. However, if that interest interferes with your ability to deliver functional products to your customer, it may be wise to indulge that interest outside of work.

Reading through this design pattern has helped shape my expectations for my future profession. It highlights for me how focused the industry is on utility. I was not expecting to be able to use work projects as expressions of creativity, and this has confirmed that. I know to keep my personal and professional endeavors separate.

I do disagree a little with the way Hoover and Oshineye discuss creating beautiful works. In sections of this chapter, they talk about wanting artistry in your craft as if it is a bad thing. I agree that you should be able to recognize when it is appropriate to invest time in making a customer’s product beautiful, but I don’t think that urge should be shut down completely. That energy could easily be channeled into a personal project; you shouldn’t stop trying to use your skills to make beautiful things just because it might not benefit your employer.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Ciampa's Computer Science Blog by robiciampa and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Breakable Toys

The idea of Breakable Toys is that you can only really learn when you are given the ability to fail. When you are working in a real environment, you cannot afford to break anything. This limits how much you can learn, since the best part about messing up is learning from your mistakes. The main suggestion of Breakable Toys is that you should work on your own personal projects where you are able to make mistakes without affecting anything important.

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t like the idea of this pattern. I understand it, I realize why it is a good pattern, but I am not the person to work on programming in my free time. I have done it before, and the personal projects I worked on were fun, but I enjoy doing other things with my time. I enjoy being able to turn off work when I get home, and feeling like I need to continue to work is going to haunt me.

I do realize what this pattern is trying to say though, and I am not against that at all. The pattern says that you should work on something that you enjoy, and it shouldn’t be considered work but more of a hobby. I have been thinking about this ever since I began programming, but I feel like most of my ideas are outside of my skill level. Breakable Toys suggests that you should create a wiki about whatever you want so that it is personal to you, but as of right now I don’t want to do anything.

I am not too worried about the fact that I don’t really work on personal projects; I do when I feel like it. It is great to practice in an environment where you can try experimental things and build things for your own personal use, but I really do not want to feel obligated to do work on my own time. Overall, I think this is a very good pattern which is a hard pill for me to swallow. I know it will be good for me, but I cannot shake the feeling that I feel like I need to work on my own time.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Ryan Blog by rtrembley and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.