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How can I practice pair programming?

A version of this article originally appeared on CodeNewbie.org and was authored by Natalee Blagden


Pair programming is part of the day-to-day software development process for many companies, and it can also be used as part of the technical interview process. When interviewing job candidates, it’s a helpful way to see how you might perform on a team.

But if you’re new to programming and haven’t had a ton of pair programming opportunities, it can be hard to practice this part of the interview process. So we asked an experienced coder to help us out.

Avielle Wolfe is a backend engineer at GitLab, a complete DevOps platform, delivered as a single application.

“We don’t have a hiring team or recruiters,” Avielle says. “We all take part in hiring. I’ve conducted several pair programming interviews.”

She also passed a pair programming interview to land jobs in the past. In her experience, practicing this skill set is “tricky, especially when you’re learning at home,” she says.

Revealing our work takes courage. One way to ease into it is by pairing with fellow beginners. There is value in meeting people who are on our level, Avielle tells us.

So how do you find awesome programmers who are also looking to pair? Check out the CodeNewbie Twitter Chats! During the Shoutouts section (the last 10-15 mins of our Wed chats), tweet that you’re looking for someone to pair with and what you might want to work on.

“Any opportunity you have to pair with someone, I definitely recommend taking it,” Avielle says. She recommends looking for communities where you can join in.

BEGINNER-FRIENDLY ONLINE COMMUNITIES

If you want to get to know people in a beginner-friendly chat room environment, try joining Slack groups for people learning to code.

Another online community that’s welcoming to beginners is Code Buddies. They have public Slack channels as well as scheduled study groups and hangouts. Each scheduled online hangout is dedicated to one language, problem, or skill. You can add your own hangouts to attract people to a topic or debugging challenge that you’d like to hash out, live, online.

FIND A MORE SENIOR PAIRING PARTNER

We investigated 20 meetups, lists, and matching services for pair programming. These are the most active. CoderMatch.me is especially handy because it filters results by programming language and skill level.

Not sure how to present your skills and talk about your projects in your job interview? Check out Season 2, Episode 3 of the CodeNewbie podcast.

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