Record What You Learn

Hello dear readers. Here we are again in another blog post with another Apprenticeship Pattern. Today’s Pattern is called ‘Record What You Learn” and by the name you can kinda tell what this is all about.

One day before I started my job, one of my friends gave me the same advice “Take a notebook with you and write down everything they explain. Sometimes even the easiest things can be forgotten. Also this gives a good first impression on how seriously you take your job.” I got to say that my friend was definitely right and I can say with prof from my experience at my job and also from this pattern that I am writing today.

This pattern talks about the learning process and how important it is for you to record what you are learning. When starting a new job or working in a new project, you will be facing a bunch of new material and believe me you won’t remember all of that. It is very important for you to keep notes about everything you are learning but not only. There are a lot of people out there who keep notes and when they go back to review, they don’t even understand their own writing or what they were trying to note.

It is true that is very important to keep notes but it is also as important to keep clear notes. The authors strongly suggest to keep a blog post about these new information that you are being exposed but I would say that a blog  is not required or necessary. In my opinion it is perfectly fine to have all your notes stored in a notebook as long as everything is clear and clean. I would say that another advantage of the blog posts is that while writing about you learned, you also reflect about it.

It is totally your choice to decide on how you would like to record and store all your notes. I personally was very happy to show up on my first week of work with a notebook with me. Even after 6 months I needed to look at that notebook once in a while. Another use of my notebook was for my new teammates that joined the team. As I passed it along, they also found it very helpful and started to create their own.

AMPATH-WSU Sprint 2 Retrospective

And the issues continue… ūüė¶

Hello dear readers, welcome to my second retrospective blog post. I don’t know why did I decide to switch to using MAC laptop on the last semester of school. As I mentioned on the first spring blog, I was able to fork and clone the code but was having issues in the terminal when trying to build the code. We figured out that the build environment was not fully set up and there was also something else wrong. To be honest I got pretty mad at MAC as I was having issues in another class for installing a virtual machine. I had an old windows laptop at home so I just started to install everything form beginning on that laptop. Sam, my other teammate which is also a MAC user had issues but different ones.

I would like to mention that I really like the way our team works. Kristi was able to help me and Sam with the issue of building the project locally. We always help each other and we don’t leave any of us behind. In my opinion this is a very important behavior to have in a team because that makes a team more productive and brings the teammates closer to each other. StackOverflow and Google helped a lot as well. Realized other people had had similar issues in the past as well. I would strongly suggest to research about the environments and tools you are going to use before you start installing them.

After we made sure that everyone was in the same page and each of us had everything set up we went and checked our to do tasks. I mentioned in the first sprint that that spring felt like a research sprint, I would say that this sprint wasn’t that different either. Actually I was not expecting¬† to start development right away as we were exposed to new tools. I would like to say that even though we haven’t started with development yet I am very happy about all the material that we are learning as its very useful and gives us a great experience.

Before the end of the second sprint we were notified that the developers in Kenya gave some additional information to our professor about what do they want the app to look like and what are some of their requirements. I also know that they send us videos of the wire-frames. This will allow  us to analyze the requirements and apply all the knowledge we are learning in the CS-448 (Software Process Management) class. We are all very excited to get started on watching the videos and start working on this project.

I would say that we did a lot of learning during this sprint and I would like to assume that the next sprint will be the same as we are going to study, analyze the requirements given, and separate out duties within the teams and within each other. I opened a few of the videos that Greg had posted for us and I am really excited about this. I can’t wait to let you guys know where’re we at by the end of next sprint.

The Deep End

Hi dear readers. In this blog post I am going to write about the next Apprenticeship Pattern called ‘The Deep End’. I am sure all of you are wondering now what does that mean?!

This new Pattern talks about how to be able to realize if you can take over different kinds of projects and realize where do you stand in terms of your knowledge and career.

For a lot of developers there comes a phase in the career where you start thinking about how are you doing and where do you stand. Questions like: have I achieved enough, am I in the right position, should I move to another company, is my portfolio where it should be, etc, cross your mind.¬† I liked the expression the authors used: “Waiting until you‚Äôre ready can become a recipe for never doing a thing”. I totally agree with this expression as I personally think you can never be fully ready for any type of job. There are always new things to learn and new technology coming out.

Two years of experience with my company and I have been a witness of people asking these questions to themselves and moving on and out of the company because they didn’t feel right anymore, they did’t see space for growing and said it was hurting the career. Every move you take it has its own risks, some bigger than others but always present. I personally think that risks shouldn’t just be avoided but should really be considered. Moving out of the company you are working or taking over big projects that you know that you can’t handle can fail your career. I believe this is big enough reason to hold back and really think about¬† this new step you are about to take.

Always challenge yourself with different¬† bigger and bigger projects, but don’t just climb 5 stairs at a time. ‘You can fall and seriously get injured.’ I like the author’s suggestion about making a list of your all achievements, projects and skills you are at. This list will definitely show you were you stand and give you a better idea on what your next step should be.

Expose Your Ignorance

Hello my readers and welcome back to my blog. Today I am going to write about another Apprenticeship Pattern called Expose Your Ignorance. I totally agree that it might sounds weird when you hear it but you will change your mind by the end of this blog post.

You have just started working for a company, its your first job and everyone expects a lot from you. You are now a Software Developer and its time to show your skills. Too much pressure I know!!

This chapter of the book talks about how you should not hide what you don’t know as that will make you more ignorant. Everyday of the job and everyday of our life is a learning process for everyone and you don’t make an exception. The authors strongly encourage every software developer out there (especially the inexperienced ones) to expose their ignorance by asking questions. By asking questions you are letting your team know that you want to learn and lower the level of ignorance.

Pride! Ahh pride, this is what holds most of the people back. I totally get it that it’s easier said than done, but you should really leave your pride aside when learning. Yes its true, you can go and do your own research about the matter but that it going to take you a bigger amount of time compared to the situation where you can just ask your teammate or your manager.

If my close friends were to read this blog post would say: “Look who’s talking!”. Yep I got the same issue, I am very afraid to the idea that my teammates will think how inexperienced or ignorant I am so I just keep going on my own and stress myself until I find the answers of my questions. However I have realized that working in a team with a great environment makes it way easier to address to your teammates or manager for questions you might have.

So yeah..long story short: Ask questions about what you don’t know or need to know! But keep in mind to try to shorten the list of the things you don’t know soon. There will be times where the list will get longer than usual and sometimes shorter but as you choose the shortest path to expose your ignorance, you will notice that by the end on the trip you will be an expert. Don’t get discouraged, ASK!

AMPATH-WSU Sprint 1 Retrospective

Hello my readers. So as I mentioned in the very first blog for this semester, all the blog posts will be related to that class. This is a Capstone class and we are working in groups in a project that I am really looking forward to give my contribution.

But what is AMPATH? AMPATH stands for Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare and is a healthcare partnership based in Kenya and created from different organizations. As far as I understood from my professor, there are multiple universities working on the AMPATH project. What we will be doing this semester is to help developers in Kenya as they are rebuilding the system. Excitingggg!!

Before the second sprint kicks in, here I am thinking about how did this last sprint go. Overall good I would say! My biggest disadvantage was that I had to be away for a week from the country and I kinda missed a few meetings but was able to recover in time without missing much information.

Starting working with AMPATH felt to me just like starting a new job. During sprint one we mostly got familiar with tools, the program we were going to use, our teammates, the systems we were going to use. We were assigned to different teams based on our availability. Fortunately I knew half of my team as I had worked with them in the past in other projects and was looking forward to work with the other developers as well.

In all this new process, I would like to point out one of the systems that i really liked and had not used before: Trello. It was very convenient to have all the stages of the First Sprint lined up in front of you (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, In Progress an Done). We started to organize our work and what needed to be done to increase our productivity.

Another step we took was pulling, cloning and getting familiar with the code of the project we were going to use. As a new MAC users (pointing this as I don’t know Mac too much) I had a few issues with running the code in my computer. Kristi though, was able to help me figure out the issue and solve it. .

Unfortunately our semester is a bit short for us to have big development getting done. However I am very excited for the new learning that I am and will be getting out of this project. I choose this project because I thought this way I could assist in an application that was real and had a good purpose.

I would consider this sprint as a research sprint where we researched and tried to learn ans study a lot about Karma ( a test runner for JavaScript), and JavaScript itself. Personally I hadn’t worked with it a lot and needed a few more blogs/chapters to read about it. I am really looking forward to the next sprints and to see what we will be achieving.¬†I didn’t lie when I said it felt like starting a new job :).


Who Doesn’t Hate Their Computer?!

Hi dear readers. Welcome to my next blog post. In this blog post I am going to write about an article that I read with title “Why Doctors Hate Their Computers” written by Atul Gawande.

Gawande starts the article writing about this new system that the hospital he was working was upgrading to. The new system’s name was Epic. Epic is a leading provider company of software for healthcare industry. Gawande shortly explains all the process of training and using this new software, as well as the consequences that it brought with it.

I found the article pretty interesting as it is always good to know, especially as a developer on where do the other industries stand with technology and how are they liking it. I am personally in a Fleet/GPS industry and an internal developer. In my opinion doesn’t really matter which industry you love or hate, technology lies in the same path (most of the time).

Just like Gawande, also a lot other healthcare doctors/employees were not happy enough or at all with the new system upgrade. It is unfortunate how in some things this system had a bad effect when it was supposed to improve all the process. But while reading the story I find so many truths in this article that even I, a software developer can relate to my place of work. To be honest I would say you are ling if you come up to me and say that the system your work/school is using is amazing and you got no issues with it. It is not that the technology is not perfect but it’s people behind those written lines of code. People well trained or not, people with good knowledge or not, people with good skills or not. Having these people combined leads to problems with software.

I would like to point out one part of the article when Gawande’s collage Dr. Sadoughi was explaining how she felt about the new software and how slow it made her work. In a moment she mentions how she logging was very bad as all other doctors could access the documents of a patients, which in my opinion is amazing as, myself as a patient have to explain to each doctor over and over again on what my current health condition is. As far as the other doctors not putting the exact notes for patients, I would say that is a professional matter. At this point the doctor is not playing by the rules but slacking by just using enough words for the billing system to care but not to help in the overall functionality process of this software. In the same time this doctor is hurting the patient as well as the other doctor has no clue of the real health problem the patient has. Let’s be fair at this point!

I have experienced a lot of issues with systems at work too. Once my boss said: “Think how good a software is, if even a developer is confused”. Its true that systems have problems and maybe this particular system had more issues but technology is the future and it has improved our lifestyle in so many ways and we can’t deny that. When creating a system the PMs should always consider the most important factors but also work with a group of users from different departments who represent the interest of them all .

I strongly believe that systems and technology can be improved even more if the correct specifications are set and met, but just like other things in this world, nothing is perfect. Technology doesn’t make an exception.

Unleash Your Enthusiasm

Hello dear readers. Welcome back to my next blog post. This time will be talking about enthusiasm in your new/current work place.

This chapter of the book  talks about how to feel and what to do about your enthusiasm at your work place, being that a new or current environment. I believe these advises would mostly apply to a new work environment as in an old environment you already know your coworkers and your boss. The author gives credits to people with enthusiasm and strongly supports them to unleash and keep the spirit up.

Getting into a new work environment it is indeed a bit hard, especially when that is your first job. When it comes to choosing a job, unfortunately you can’t really know what kind of team and people you are going to work on unless you have been recommended for that job. So being nervous is FINE. And I was crazy nervous in my interview and first week of my job.

I have heard a lot of stories about teams with employees who don’t accept suggestions or new ideas and especially when those are coming from a new employee and a recent graduated student. If you were to read their face, it would say only one thing: YOU DON’T KNOW. At that point it is time to move up and get to your manager and if you are still not heard I truly think is time to move on. But always keep your spirit and enthusiasm up because just because those people don’t accept new ideas doesn’t mean you are wrong.

Never hold back on ideas and always express them. A good team will listen to your idea and will take it in consideration and will explain why that might or not be a good idea. Nobody was experienced on their first jobs! Its true that these new team you are in might know more than you but you might know something they don’t and that’s a plus to the team productivity.

Keep in mind that nobody knows everything. Try to find the person who you think would listen and welcome your ideas. Also accept critics, its very important for your development.