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Discussion on: Don't just code

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alvaro_montoro profile image
Álvaro Montoro Author • Edited

Thank you!

To improve some soft skills when you are starting –and take into consideration that this is my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt–, you could:

  • Work/Study in pairs/groups: not everybody working independently on the same problem, but dividing the problem into smaller parts that each of you individually works on, and then put together. That would help with communication, teamwork building, problem-solving, and organization... plus it would give experience on how work will likely be later.
  • Pair/Mob programming: two people (or more in the case of mob programming) working together on the same problem at the same time. This would be the opposite approach from the point before, but it will help with some of the same soft skills: teamwork, communication, open-mindedness, and negotiation (you won't always agree on the way to proceed).
  • Attend meetups and presentations: if there's a local meetup that has show-and-tells or presentations, sign up and attend. Now with corona, it may be complicated in person, but there are many opportunities online too. This could improve your creativity, learning skills, and you could get some communication tricks from how the presenters do things (and even take some initiative and leadership, and do a presentation yourself some time!)
  • Close your laptop: find someone, a friend, a colleague, or a relative, and go grab some coffee or something to eat. Or volunteer with a group. Forget about programming for a few hours and just chat, find out how they are doing, help them with something. That will help with empathy, taking initiative, and leadership. When I was in college, I often learned more with my labmates at lunch than at the lab.

These are just suggestions: travel, read, learn a new language (not a programming one), meet new places and cultures (not only as a tourist but "immerse yourself" as much as possible), take courses not related to your major... I know some of these seem generic and many are practically impossible at the current moment. The idea is to live and view things from someone else's perspective. Don't let being on a computer define who you are. Be human and interact with other humans.