A human being who writes React, Rails, Node and SCSS fluently and is passionate about design.
There’s more to code than the code
I currently work for Microverse, a school for Remote Software Developers that is totally free until you get a job, as a part-time Technical Support Engineer and Student Mentor. One of the best parts about the job is the privilege to perform code reviews for software engineers in the program as well as interacting with so many people from diverse backgrounds, being able to experience each person’s life/thought process as if it were your own.
3 months and 300+ code reviews later, I can confidently say that reading through code, learning from many diverse perspectives, offering help, navigating conflict/tension, providing clarity, motivation, and inspiration, as well as mentoring 7 other developers and helping them advance towards their goals to become world-class, has made me an entirely different person.
You wonder, let’s take a closer look and you may see things just as I have.
It is essentially manually parsing through code with your naked eyes or with supporting tools, making sure nothing is amiss. It involves you drawing from specific guidelines the written code must adhere to in structure, inspecting functionality, correctness, as well as performance/scalability in an attempt to streamline the software development process and or improve/inform the implementation of specific features. Think of it as quality assurance for code.
Let’s jump into discussing a few of the life-transforming virtues this seemingly mundane(monotonous) task has instilled in me.
As is pretty clear by now, performing such a task not once, or twice, but 300+ times over the course of three months and through over 100,000+ lines of code will require a high level of patience if you are going to do it right.
In my time as a TSE, I’ve run into software engineers who genuinely didn’t understand things that most people will consider to be pretty glaring, and this taught me one of the biggest lessons in my entire life “people are allowed to be different from you”. Running into this situation several times caused this fact to be deeply ingrained in how I view and interact with my life-partner, colleagues, family, and even strangers.
Taking the time out to think about it repeatedly will do you wonders, imagine a world where instead of walking around with a fixed mindset, you have one that’s open and welcoming to the differences in everyone. Imagine how many different lives you will get to live and perspectives you will get to experience. Think of how much peace you will have when someone’s habits constantly irk you because they are a little different from yours in how you live or carrying out similar tasks, think of how serene your mind will suddenly be understanding and accepting this singular notion.
people are allowed to be different from you.
Mentorship and performing code reviews require a certain level of openness and transparency, in order to connect with mentees and communicate/answer questions effectively. Consistently working on this skill has helped me build more trust, and brought me to a place where I think nothing of answering questions frankly or transparently.
Building this skill demands that you put your actions and behaviors under a microscope and make sure you aren’t doing things you are not open to discussing, at least with those closest to you. It also ensures that you fully understand or have experienced whatever you are trying to discuss with your colleagues or friends, giving you a strong foundation to stand upon and draw from. It also teaches you to be generous with what you know, understanding that no knowledge belongs to you or anyone else.
If you’ve ever thought your colleague or junior was bugging you with too many or unnecessary questions, or your mother and even your wife is being too nosey about anything, or you aren’t able to answer any question thrown at you with the same level of peace and serenity and think nothing of it, you may want to consider working on being more open and transparent.
If there’s nothing to hide, answering a few questions, no matter how many times should be no trouble at all. It is something I consistently work at every day.
I truly believe, that no one person, no matter how talented or knowledgeable can ever truly be amazing without realizing that anyone can teach and be taught, and this brings me to the final value I’ll be discussing.
Several times, I’ve run into a piece of code that does something(the same thing) in a fashion that’s completely different from anything I would’ve thought about, adding to my knowledge base, and expanding my experience. But it takes humility to accept being taught by someone you are paid to guide, however, this one mental hack can completely change your life if you let it.
Understanding that anyone, no matter how ‘little’ can pass unto you some sort of knowledge/piece of information that could be vital to you in some way or even life-saving at a later time can quickly increase your value as a person. Going from experience to experience without ever looking down on any encounter or having a pre-existing notion about the disparity in knowledge between you and anyone.
Learning from your kids about how to be more creative, learning a new concept from a junior employee that is vital to demystifying a challenge you’ve been faced with for weeks. These experiences are cumulative and in the long run extremely valuable to the one who holds them. Master this one mental perspective and it will accelerate your mental capacity, knowing not just what you know but a ton of other people do as well.
No knowledge belongs to you or me, realizing this and tapping into the collective wisdom offered to us daily, through the interactions with people of various skill levels can bring you to a place where your lack of specific knowledge or any one piece of information will never be a disadvantage.
Becoming a mentor and reading through so many lines of code has brought me peace and serenity, in ways many might overlook, especially in my life outside of work and education, and is actively transforming my life. I consistently work on these virtues I highlighted above in a bid to better my life and the lives of anyone I interact with. I implore you to give these words some thought and if they resonate with you, see how you can incorporate them into your personal and professional life.
Until next time, ciao!
Previously published at https://medium.com/@oluwadamilareo_/performing-300-code-reviews-helped-me-become-a-better-human-being-508bf978d6cd