Pragmatism in the real world


Today is Ada Lovelace day which celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. I have many role models in my technical life and many are women who inspire and encourage me to do better. There are too many to list, but I am thankful every one of them, both men and women.

I want to talk today about one person who inspires me: Kim. Kim is relatively new to development. Fortunately she works for an organisation that recognised her abilities and enabled her to to transition to a new position where she could work professionally as a developer for them. I’ve watched her grow from someone who knew very little to someone I now ask questions of.

She has three things going for her:

  • enthusiasm
  • eagerness to learn
  • willingness to ask questions

I feel these are her key strengths when it comes to growing so quickly into a competent developer. They work very well together.

Firstly, Kim is so enthusiastic to everything that she puts her mind to. It doesn’t matter if it’s updating HTML to ensure that information is displayed clearly for users, writing PHP or even testing Android code, Kim is excited to be doing the work.

Tied with this enthusiasm is an eagerness to learn. Just because she hasn’t done it before doesn’t seem to be a massive impediment. Just point her in the right direction and she’ll go off and research the topic area and then comes back asking questions. The key thing here is that she has educated herself before she asks questions. As a result, the questions are nuanced, specific and answerable. If only everyone asked questions this way!

What do I want to learn from Kim? Most obviously, I have become lazy. I tend to ask questions first, so others do the “hard work” of research for me. This is disrespectful of their time and I am perfectly capable of doing enough research so then I can ask the specific questions to the people who freely give of their time to help me.