Working Conditions

My workplace has a very unique setup for the developer room.

Most developers work in small, silent rooms. This makes a lot of sense, because deep thought is easier in a silent environment.

At my company, we have a completely different setup: no less than 30 people in a big, open room. We have 12 backend developers plus business analysts, an Iteration manager, a Product Owner, and Quality Assurance people. Basically, we have every person who touches our app crammed into one giant, open room.

It’s an environment full of distractions, but pairing makes things easier. When you’re paired with another person, your focus narrows, and you can concentrate on just that person, blocking out the chatter of the rest.

On the plus side:

  • Getting help is a non-issue. I can’t count the times that someone has overheard my pair and I talking and chimed in with, “Oh, I had that problem yesterday. This is how I got past it.”
  • It pushes the developers to cultivate advanced social skills, by forcing them to deal with issues like negotiating music selection and volume. Conflicts come to a head quickly and are remedied just as quickly, allowing for a more cooperative environment.
  • We get to know our teammates very, very well. Team-building is automatic.

The downside:

  • Introverts have a limited capacity for social interaction. I lean only slightly toward introversion, and I leave work every day with my well of socialization depleted. I crave silence and there’s nowhere to find it, at work or at home.
  • Working through something alone is impossible. When my pair steps away, I try to think through the problem alone, but if I’m not talking out loud about the problem, I can’t hear myself think.

Some of the other developers like the setup, and others hate it. As a new developer, the ability to get help is especially valuable, so the benefits currently outweigh the costs. We’ll see if that stays true as I gain more experience.

On a side note, it seems that the cure for Writer’s Block is to write about it.

6 thoughts on “Working Conditions

    • Glad to hear it! I’m always excited to hear that something I’ve written is helpful.

      BTW, your comment really helped me get past the Writer’s Block. If there’s ever anything specific you’d like to hear more about, let me know.


  1. Hey! Your blog consistently brightens my day. You have a way with words and zoning in on all the right details that makes me feel like I’m truly not undergoing this journey alone. Thank you.

    I think that environment would drive me crazy… but at the same time, I work from home, I’m alone most of the day, and it’s difficult to get in touch with other developers right when I need them. My main source of help comes from a man who used to be a developer, for about twenty years, so he can explain the underlying concepts behind everything in incredible detail but when it comes to tool-specific issues I’m pretty much on my own. For constant access to other developers, I think I’d be willing to put up with all the energy-draining socialization in the world, at least for awhile. (I’m both an introvert and incredibly shy/socially anxious.) But yeah. It would still drive me crazy.

    In your last post you talked about trying to write some about Enumerable. Your guide to object oriented programming was incredibly helpful, focused, and clear. I would love to read your take on Enumerable! I’m also really interested in your thoughts on/participating in discussions on how coding bootcamps can help decrease the gender gap in tech. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Wendy! It really brightens my day to hear from readers who identify with my writings.

      I will definitely post on both of those subjects. It’s great to hear feedback on what topics people like to hear about.

      I always hesitate to write technical posts unless I have a unique angle on the subject. There are a million blogs that address the technical aspects of coding, and very few that address the human aspects.

      I do have some ideas on writing about Enumerable, though, so I will do a series on that soon.


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